30 July 2006
Round 17: Shedden again as chaos reigns.
Gordon Shedden made it a double victory for Team Halfords at Donington Park as chaos reigned in the second race for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Shedden started from pole by virtue of his race one victory and held the lead into Redgate for the first time, while Fabrizio Giovanardi had used all the circuit – and more – to get ahead of Colin Turkington on the run to the first corner, However, as the field streamed through the Craner Curves, everything would suddenly go wrong…
Trying to go round the outside of Turkington to get the inside line into the Old Hairpin, Tom Chilton put a wheel onto the grass, then going straight on into the gravel and taking Turkington with him, although the MG would be able to continue. Behind, Dave Pinkney had done pretty much the same as Chilton and was sent spinning off while Darren Turner and Gavin Smith both took a trip through the gravel trap.
The Safety Car was deployed to remove the stricken cars of Chilton and Pinkney but before the field reached the start-finish line, there had been a change for the lead, with Giovanardi sliding inside Shedden into the Chicane – the field then circulating behind the Safety Car until racing resumed on lap seven.
As soon as the race went green, Smith made light work of the MG of Jason Hughes to go seventh as he started his fightback through the order, while Shedden reclaimed the lead at the end of the seventh lap, a fine move seeing him catch Giovanardi unawares at the same place where the Italian had snatched the lead earlier in the race. However, as the field headed into the Old Hairpin for the eighth time, chaos would again reign.
This time it was Matt Neal and Rob Collard who would touch, with the two going side-by-side through the Craner Curves and then touching, which was enough to send Collard into a spin off into the gravel. Following closely behind, Jason Plato had nowhere to go but into the rear of Neal's Integra, the result being the SEAT beached in the gravel and the Safety Car back on track, Neal having launched a stunning recovery to keep his car in a straight line and Collard having also managed to escape from the gravel to resume at the rear of the field.
The race remained under yellow flags until the start of lap twelve, with Shedden backing the field up as the race went green. Smith would quickly take second from Giovanardi running through the Craner Curves, but the Old Hairpin would see more drama straight away, with Turner going into the corner sideways and smashing into the side of Turkington, both cars continuing after a run through the gravel but with the field having an unexpected look to it – Mark Smith and Adam Jones both running inside the top ten – at the end of the lap.
While Shedden pulled away, the battles on track were in the chasing pack, with James Kaye going fifth on lap 13 with a move on Eoin Murray into McLeans, only to lose the place at the same corner a lap later – then making an error at Coppice which allowed Neal through into sixth.
With the top two secure in their places, Giovanardi was coming under increasing pressure for third and lost the place to a storming Mike Jordan on lap 15, with the Team Eurotech Integra stealing position at the Chicane. It allowed Jordan to claim a third podium finish of the season, with Giovanardi forced to settle for fourth. Neal claimed fifth after battling past the impressive Murray who took sixth in the Team Quest Alfa Romeo, with Kaye seventh ahead of a recovering Turkington and Turner. Adam Jones took the final point, his first of the season, in tenth.
Mark Smith took eleventh ahead of Martyn Bell, who suffered a spin at McLeans on the opening lap, while Collard completed the finishers in 13th – albeit more than a minute behind after his early incident and a pitstop to check over the Team RAC car.
The reverse grid draw after the race would see Shedden pull the number nine out of the bag – putting Turner on pole for the final race of the day with Turkington alongside him on the front row.
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