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BTCC

OnslowCole

Andrew Jordan flies at Thruxton…

23-year-old Honda Civic driver claims fourth pole position of his BTCC career after late lap at Thruxton

Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan claimed the fourth pole position of his BTCC career after a blistering last gasp qualifying lap at Thruxton today (4 May). Jordan continued his run of qualifying in the first three positions at each round so far this season and also starting from the second row or higher at Thruxton in each of the last four years. 
 
The 23-year-old – second in the current driver standings – waited until the final minute to set the ultimate pace that eclipsed the Honda Yuasa Racing pair of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal.
 
Shedden looked set to secure his second pole position in as many rounds after an early dash of 1:16.894s saw the Scotsman dip under Jordan’s pole time from 2012. Both he and team-mate Matt Neal ran in tandem during the early laps, looking to gain a slipstream advantage at the high-speed Hampshire circuit, but Neal had to wait until a later run to force his way up the order into third.
 
MG KX Momentum had to settle for fourth and fifth with Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff respectively, but the team is still confident for race day tomorrow as both cars were carrying significant success ballast owing to their positions in the championship standings.
 
An exciting battle to get inside the top six ensued throughout the 30-minute session, as Jeff Smith, Tom Onslow-Cole and Frank Wrathall traded places on several occasions. It was Smith that eventually made the place stick, but the Pirtek Racing driver’s session ended off track after he ran wide at the ultra-fast Church corner and lost control of his Honda Civic. 
 
Onslow-Cole produced an impressive performance in his VW Passat to hold off Wrathall’s Toyota for seventh. Dave Newsham and Colin Turkington rounded out the top ten – the latter completing a speedy spin that dislodged the windscreen from his BMW 125i M Sport just after he’d crossed the line to set his fastest time of the day.
 
Adam Morgan’s Toyota Avensis lines up on the sixth row of the grid after he pipped the Airwaves Racing duo of Aron Smith and Mat Jackson.
 
The battle for top spot among the Jack Sears Trophy runners ended in success for Joe Girling in his Chevrolet Cruze after a great late effort put him ahead of Lea Wood’s Vauxhall Vectra and James Kaye’s VW Golf.
 
All the action from rounds 7, 8, and 9 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship taking place at Thruxton tomorrow (Sunday 5 May) will be screened live on ITV4 from 10:45.

Andrew Jordan said: “The car was fantastic and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I was relaxed after the win at Donington and I love it here. I was really hanging on during the lap but it was a lot of fun. The timing wasn’t planned to be honest – it was tight to get the lap in. The car is great so it was down to me just to get the best out of it. We were carrying quite a bit of weight too as we’re second in the championship so we have to be really pleased with that.”

Gordon Shedden said: “I am looking forward to race day. I think I started 19th here last year after some problems so I’m much happier to be up the front. I am really happy with the balance we have in the car, and we’ll have our elbows out to go racing tomorrow. We need to close the points gap on the leaders and I think we’re in good shape to do that.”

Matt Neal said: “I thought we had the front row locked out with Honda Yuasa but at least we got beaten by another Honda – and it was still a Honda 1-2-3. It’s great to start near the front tomorrow and tyres will be critical. What you can’t see on the TV is that we’re always drifting through the fast stuff here and when you get to the edge of the circuit with no run-off curbs or anything, it’s a long way to the banking. It always makes for some good racing when you come to a great circuit like Thruxton.”
 

2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Thruxton – Qualifying
 
1. Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing): 1:16.527
2. Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing): +0.270
3. Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing): +0.367
4. Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing): +0.518
5. Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing): +1.032
6. Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing): +1.041
7. Tom Onslow-Cole (PPCGB / Kraftwerk Racing): +1.263
8. Frank Wrathall (Dynojet): +1.296
9. Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport): +1.391
10. Colin Turkington (eBay Motors): +1.485

BTCC

PLATO & JACKSON SHARE WINS AT SILVERSTONE TO
SET UP FOUR-WAY BRANDS HATCH TITLE-DECIDER
 
Jason Plato, with two wins, and Mat Jackson shared the victories in three astonishing Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races in front of a mammoth 30,000 crowd at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire today. Ultimately four drivers – Gordon Shedden, Plato, Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan – will go into the 2012 season’s final three races, on Brands Hatch’s legendary Grand Prix circuit in a fortnight (20/21 October), with a chance of being crowned Champion of Britain’s premier motor racing series.
 
After achieving his fifth pole position of the year – also his third in a row – with a qualifying lap record on Saturday, Oxford’s Plato went on to win today’s first race in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6, but only after Jackson’s Redstone Racing Ford Focus cruelly retired from the lead with just a few laps to go.
 
Finishing second and third were Inverness’s Dave Newsham in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra and, with his first podium result, Jackson’s team-mate Aron Smith from Dublin. Fife’s Shedden took seventh in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic but Worcestershire team-mate Neal and Lichfield’s Jordan, in his Pirtek Racing Civic, both retired.
 
Warwickshire’s Jackson then won race two ahead of Hook’s Robert Collard (eBay Motors BMW) and Newsham with a quite incredible drive from 17th on the grid, this time after Plato retired from the lead. Jackson also set a new race lap record as he notched up the first victory for his squad’s NGTC-spec Focus. Shedden was again seventh with Jordan ninth while Neal suffered another retirement when his car spectacularly caught fire.
 
It was then Plato’s turn to wow the crowds as he came through from 20th to win race three ahead of Jackson and Collard. Shedden was sixth and Jordan seventh but, almost unbelievably, reigning Champion Neal retired again, this time after being forced off the track into a barrier.
 
As a result, Shedden still leads the table by 15 points from Plato who has moved past Neal into second overall. Neal is 31 behind Shedden and Jordan 61 adrift with a possible maximum of 67 still available from ‘Finals Day’.
 
An ecstatic Plato commented: “Despite the retirement in race two this is still one of the best days in my BTCC career. We’ve made more progress with our MG6 – in fact it’s a rocketship – and our tails are well and truly in the air. For MG to go into the final round with a chance of lifting the title in its first year back in the championship is fantastic and I really believe we’ve got the Honda boys worried.”
 
Shedden, from Dalgety Bay and who is aiming to become Scotland’s first BTCC Champion since John Cleland in 1995, said: “We knew this was going to be our bogey circuit so today was about picking up what crumbs we could – I don’t think we could have wrung any more out of the car. I expect us to be fully back on song at Brands Hatch which has got lots of high-speed corners where our Civic comes into its own. I’d take points in the bag any day and I’m feeling good about our chances.” Neal added: “Today has been a shocker but I’m not out of it yet – there are still a lot of points to be won at Brands and I’ll be going there with all guns blazing. Jason’s MG will be strong there and our main objective is to get a Honda over the line in first. Gordon is obviously better placed to do that so is the priority…”

 
Jordan will also go to Brands still with a healthy lead in the Independent Drivers Championship, although can still be caught by Collard, Jackson and eBay Motors’ Tom Onslow-Cole. He admitted: “Let’s be realistic. There’s no way the outright championship is possible so my focus will be to stay ahead of my Independent rivals. Rob has effectively halved the gap to 28 points but there are only 60 left at Brands and our car will be much stronger there.”
 
Jackson was delighted with his results today which marked his return to the podium since Thruxton in April. “A win from 17th, a second and a new lap record in a car that is still only two months old and it could have been two wins… I couldn’t be happier for everyone in my team,” he said.
 
Elsewhere Honda/Dynamics is all but assured the coveted Manufacturers/Constructors title. Similarly the Honda Yuasa Racing Team is a red hot favourite to retain the outright HiQ Teams Championship although can still be caught by eBay Motors. But it will be a three-way fight for the Independent Teams Trophy at Brands between new leader eBay Motors, Pirtek Racing and Redstone Racing – just ten points cover the trio with a potential 60 up for grabs in the finale.
 
Meanwhile a number of drivers were punished today by BTCC officials for on-track indiscretions. Race 1: Andy Neate, fined £500 and three penalty points on his competition licence for an incident with Andrew Jordan; Tony Gilham, official reprimand and two penalty points for an incident during a safety car period; Lea Wood, fined £500 and three penalty points for an incident with Liam Griffin. Race 3: Lea Wood, fined £500 and three penalty points for an incident with Matt Neal; Rob Austin, excluded from the results and four penalty points for an incident with Daniel Welch; Frank Wrathall, fined £500 and three penalty points for an incident with Dave Newsham; Andrew Jordan, received a verbal warning for making contact with another car.

BTCC

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Little more than a week remains before Northamptonshire’s world-famous Silverstone circuit (Sat 6/Sun 7 Oct) hosts the crucial penultimate round of this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The three races at Silverstone will decide who will then still be in with a chance of winning the UK’s most prestigious motor racing title on Finals Day at Brands Hatch in Kent a fortnight later.
Seven drivers can mathematically still be crowned BTCC Champion in 2012, namely Honda Yuasa Racing Team team-mates Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal who lead the way, MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato, Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan, eBay Motors pair Robert Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole and Redstone Racing’s Mat Jackson.
 
Arriving at Silverstone it is Hampshire’s Collard, Surrey’s Onslow-Cole and Warwickshire’s Jackson who will be most under pressure to perform if they are to keep their fading title hopes alive. All are presently more than 67 points adrift of leader Shedden with that then being the maximum available when the cars take to the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for the season finale on the weekend of 20/21 October.
 
Of the four ahead, two wins for Scotsman Shedden last weekend at Rockingham, also in Northamptonshire, have moved him into the championship lead by three points from Worcestershire’s Neal. Shedden has never won the BTCC before while Neal is looking to retain his crown from last season – achieved when he defeated Shedden at Silverstone – and make it four titles to his name.
 
For Oxford’s Plato, himself a double BTCC Champion, Silverstone is very much his home event as it is for Lichfield youngster Jordan who, like Shedden and Neal, races a Honda Civic. All three Honda drivers, though, are expecting to struggle around Silverstone’s high-speed National circuit and Plato, in his MG6, will be hoping they are right.
 
Plato is currently 32 points behind Shedden with a maximum of 67 available from Silverstone’s three races. What’s more his MG team-mate Andy Neate, another local from nearby Aylesbury, will surely be out to aid Plato’s chances by stealing vital points away from his Honda rivals…
 
Silverstone’s short lap and long, wide straights never fail to deliver plenty of doorhandle-to-doorhandle entertainment for fans. Indeed the view from Woodcote corner of cars slipstreaming and fanning out five abreast along the Wellington Straight is one of the most evocative of the season.
 
As ever ‘the home of British motor sport’, easily accessible from across the Midlands just off the A43 dual carriageway between the M40 and M1 motorways, is making its big BTCC weekend hugely popular among audiences both young and old. Adult tickets for race day (Sunday) start from just £29 if booked in advance with admission for accompanied children aged 15 and under FREE all weekend. All admission includes access to grandstands, the main central BTCC teams’ paddock and Sunday’s specially organised autograph session with the star touring car drivers.
 
To book in advance visit www.silverstone.co.uk or call the ticket hotline 0844 3750 740.