Colin Turkington has taken victory in the opening HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Croft, although a serious accident and horrendous conditions led to two red flags and a race that was called as a result after just two laps.
There was drama before the first start when Jason Plato slid off into the gravel at Clervaux on the green flag lap. As the field lined up on the grid to prepare for the count-down to the start, the SEAT was pulled from the gravel and returned to the pit lane where the team worked hard to ensure the 2001 champion was able to start from the pit lane.
As the race got underway, Mat Jackson made a good start from seventh on the grid to make up positions while Gordon Shedden took the lead into Clervaux for the first time as he dived round the outside of Darren Turner for the lead. Further back, Steven Kane suffered a spin while Jackson muscled ahead of Turner through the Chicane to go second. Things got worse for Turner when he was caught out by standing water at Tower and went straight off into the field.
Despite the best efforts of Jackson to take the lead from Shedden, the Scot led the way at the end of lap one ahead of the BMW driver with Colin Turkington third and Matt Neal fourth.
On lap two, Turkington ran wide at Tower which allowed Neal into third place while Tom Onslow-Cole pulled a similar move on Tom Chilton to take fifth place. The following lap saw a change for the lead as Jackson stormed past the Honda into the Jim Clark Esses, but further back, Stephen Jelley sailed straight on at Tower into the gravel. As marshalls moved out from behind the barriers to aid the Team RAC man, Alan Taylor was also caught out by the rain and went off at the same place, ploughing into the stationary BMW – and the marshals surrounding it. Luckily, the marshals escaped serious injury but the race was red-flagged to allow them to be moved to the medical centre and the barriers to be repaired.
The race was then restarted over just eight laps, and when the lights went out, Jackson made the best start from second place on the grid to lead into Clervaux from Shedden and Turkington, but Jackson then got out of shape on the run to Tower and sailed straight on into the field. Tom Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole followed suit with Chilton becoming stuck in the gravel trap and leaving Shedden leading from Turkington and Matt Neal. However, having taken a defensive line into the hairpin, Shedden ran wide and allowed Turkington and Matt Neal through into first and second before the field lined up behind the Safety Car as the Halfords Honda was removed from the gravel.
However, with conditions worsening and standing water on the track, the decision was taken to stop the race due to the conditions, meaning Turkington took victory despite only one racing lap from Neal, Shedden and points leader Fabrizio Giovanardi – who had started the race outside the top ten. Rob Collard took fifth from Mike Jordan, while Steven Kane, Adam Jones, Michael Doyle and Andy Jordan all picked up points from the one lap of racing available.
Racing has now been suspended at the circuit while awaiting improvements in the weather conditions with it currently being unsafe for vehicles to take to the track.
For results, CLICK HERE