Turkington wins tough third Thruxton race
BTCC News | Sun 4th May 2014Colin Turkington held on after two safety car periods to win the final race of the day at Thruxton.
By Matt Lamprell
Airwaves Racing’s Fabrizio Giovanardi started from pole position for the first time since returning to the BTCC, after drawing his own number, 10, for the reverse grid. The Italian led the race through Allard for the first time, with Colin Turkington climbing to second from fifth on the grid thanks to a rapid start in the rear-wheel drive BMW.
Giovanardi didn’t have the pace to hold on at the front and Turkington took the lead before the end of the first lap. An eventful opening lap also saw Jason Plato’s weekend draw to a premature close. The MG KX Clucbcard Fuel Save driver was the unfortunate victim when Adam Morgan couldn’t keep his Mercedes under control after sliding wide at the Complex. Morgan caught the side of Plato and the MG’s right-rear suspension was damaged beyond repair.
The race was just five laps old when the first safety car period started. Just as Nick Foster had done in race two, Ollie Jackson found himself off the track at the high-speed Church corner. Jackson’s Proton headed across the grass, over the barrier and into a tree. Fortunately, Jackson emerged from his car quickly and without serious injury.
It took four laps to move Jackson’s car to a safer place, but when the race was able to resume, Turkington managed the restart, opening up a gap to Giovanardi in second.
However, the eBay Motors driver would have to do it again a few laps later. The second safety car period was triggered by another ‘off’ at Church. This time it was Simon Belcher who found himself on the wrong side of the barrier. In probably the worst of the day’s three accidents at the spot, Belcher’s Toyota rolled, before coming to a stop. Just like Jackson, Belcher soon appeared and gave a thumbs up to concerned onlookers.
When racing restarted again, there were six laps remaining. Once again, Turkington did well. Giovanardi was still in second and couldn’t keep up with Turkington – and lost second place to teammate Mat Jackson.
There was plenty of action over the course of the final few laps. Andrew Jordan took fifth place from Rob Collard. Matt Neal tried to follow the Civic hatch in his tourer, but ended up losing a place to his teammate, Gordon Shedden, instead. Shedden then challenged Collard as they headed towards the chicane, but ended up tagging the back of the BMW and sending Collard straight on across the chicane.
In the end, Shedden did find a way past Collard. Neal tried again to do the same, which led to contact between the pair. Neal ended up with damage that forced him to retire, while Collard dropped down the order.
The pressure on Turkington eased over the final couple of laps, as Jackson settled in second and Giovanardi came under pressure from the rest of the pack in third.
At the end of the race, Turkington took the win, ahead of Jackson, Giovanardi and Jordan. Shedden finished fifth, with Jack Goff in sixth. Aron smith took seventh, while Adam Morgan, Sam Tordoff and Rob Collard completed the top ten.
Colin Turkington said, “From where we started yesterday morning, with a really tricky car, and to finally get the car pinned down and be so fast, it’s a great reward for the eBay Motors team. The two safety cars made it incredibly difficult. I was worried because I really suffered with the safety car at Brands and Donington.”
Fabrizio Giovanardi said, “For a few seconds I thought I could win the race, but at the second corner, I was lucky to hang on to the car. The last few laps, everyone was trying to pass me everywhere.”
Andrew Jordan said, “That was a classic touring car race. I’m really happy to come through unscathed. Lap one at the Complex was really hairy. It’s been a great weekend for Honda and I’m really happy with our points tally.”