JORDAN MOVES TO CHAMPIONSHIP SUMMIT AFTER DOUBLE VICTORY—
Rob Austin also stars at Rockingham by taking maiden BTCC win—
Pirtek Racing’s Jordan stormed from fourth on the grid to lead at the end of a frantic first lap in race one, which he comfortably converted into a commanding victory ahead of Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson and WIX Racing’s Rob Austin.
Drama struck further down the order when the Audi of Will Bratt was touched by the eBay Motors BMW of Nick Foster on the run to Gracelands for the first time, and the Toyota Avensis of Adam Morgan was collected in the ensuing melee. This triggered a separate incident as the Proton of Daniel Welch and Ford Focus of Tom Onslow-Cole collided while trying to take avoiding action. With the Malaysian machine of Welch stranded on the circuit he was hit by the oncoming Chevrolet Cruze of Andy Neate – ending both cars involvement for the rest of the day.
Race two belonged to the ever-popular Austin who blasted by Mat Jackson and pole-sitter Jordan off the line from third on the grid. By the time Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden had made his way into second, Austin had cruised into an unassailable lead. The main grandstand rose as one when Austin crossed the line to take the win ahead of the Scotsman and the BMW of championship challenger Colin Turkington, who had made a late race move by Jackson.
Having already moved to the top of the standings, Jordan extended his advantage after producing an assured victory in the final showdown, whilst Turkington and the MG of Jason Plato battled it out behind for the final podium positions.
As in the first race, Jordan had to contend with a safety car period following a high-speed incident in the midfield. The Toyota Avensis of Adam Morgan ran across the grass coming out of Pif Paf, whilst the Honda Civic of Jeff Smith spun luridly across the track. As cars ducked and dived to avoid Smith, Jack Goff’s Vauxhall Insignia and Rob Collard’s BMW made contact and both hit the barrier with significant force.
The safety car period had initially looked as if it could spice up the top order, but with a repeat performance from race one, Jordan dealt with the interruption with consummate ease to take the lights-to-flag win ahead of Turkington and Plato.
Rockingham represented Mat Jackson’s biggest points haul of the 2013 campaign as he backed up his podium and fourth places from the first two contests with another fourth in the last race.
Matt Neal endured a torrid time after spinning down the order in the opener and retiring from race two. He soared through the field to finish seventh in the third race and at least brought home some solid points in his quest to win a fourth BTCC drivers’ championship. Having led the standings coming into Rockingham, Neal is now fourth behind Jordan, Shedden and Turkington.
A hat-trick of wins for Lea Wood in the S2000 class means the Vauxhall Vectra driver has now moved beyond the reach of his Jack Sears Trophy rivals with six races of the season still remaining.
The 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship now moves on to Silverstone for its penultimate event on 28/29 September before a title-deciding season finale at Brands Hatch on 12/13 October.
Andrew Jordan said: “That went even better than I’d planned to be honest! We thought we’d be quick in the wet but didn’t really know how well we’d go in the dry so such success was a bit unexpected – the car was a dream to drive all day. With six races to go a lot can happen – Matt has had a bad day today, but that could easily be me at Silverstone so we’ve got to keep our heads down, not focus too much on the championship and keep doing what we do best which is be competitive right to the end.”
Rob Austin said: “What a feeling! It has been three years of blood, sweat and tears – for the team, for my family, for everyone. We’re up against teams with four times our budget and to beat guys like that is just incredible. I backed off a bit towards the end but Sherman was brilliantly prepared and the guys did a great job – I’m so proud of the whole team. The BTCC crowd are amazing too and I love them all! They’ve got me out of trouble already this season when we had our big shunt on the first weekend. We wouldn’t be here without them so I can’t thank the fans enough.”
Gordon Shedden said: “Today wasn’t perfect but a fourth, a second and a fifth was good strong points. It looked like we had a good run in race two, but Jordan got pole for race three and we were left to fight it out mid-pack. Even though the car didn’t quite feel in the sweet spot this weekend, it’s points that make prizes at the end of the day and it was good to score well in every race. Now I just need to go on and score some more – everybody’s been having their problems as the year has gone on except Andrew, so it’s up to the rest of us collectively to outscore him. Historically Brands Hatch GP at the end of the year has been great for us, but we’ll have a lot of work to do at Silverstone.”
Lea Wood said: “In my mind the championship isn’t over until the end of the year, but to get the results we did today and move out of reach of the others is fantastic. The car performed faultlessly all weekend. We gambled in race one on the slick tyres – it was touch and go for quite a while but we reeled in David Nye and to pass him on the final lap was a great feeling and probably one of the best moments of the year. The plan for the rest of the season is to keep winning as many as we can!”
2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) 308
3 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) 305
4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 304
5 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 276
6 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) 218