Turkington crowned 2014 BTCC champion as Plato wins first Brands Hatch race
BTCC News | Sun 12th October 2014Colin Turkington is the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car champion after taking third place in race one at Brands Hatch. Jason Plato claimed victory, but the point that Turkington secured for taking fastest lap means that Plato now can’t catch the BMW driver in the points standings.
By Matt Lamprell
Turkington’s advantage over Plato is now 44 points – the same number that would be available to Plato if he were to win both of the remaining races and take fastest lap in both. However, even if Plato managed that, and Turkington failed to score any more points, the eBay Motors driver would claim the title as a result of having claimed more wins and second place finishes.
It was an eventful race from the very beginning. Plato started the race from pole position, but Turkington almost took the advantage on the opening lap. Starting from the second row, Turkington took the outside line around Paddock Hill Bend and looked as though he was heading for the lead. However, Sam Tordoff had other ideas, and pushed the BMW to the outside as they headed around Druids.
Tordoff claimed the lead, with Plato managing to slot into second, ahead of Turkington. As the leaders were making their way around the first few corners, there was plenty happening behind them. It all started with Fabrizio Giovanardi attempting to move down the inside of Gordon Shedden into Paddock. That turned the Scot’s Honda Civic around, which caused chaos as the pack approached. Rob Austin hit the back of Shedden, while Jack Goff and Hunter Abbott were both caught up in the melee.
Compounding Honda’s woes, Matt Neal also suffered damage and was an early retirement alongside the others involved in the incident. The safety car was deployed at the end of the first lap as the stranded cars were recovered.
It was lap five when the racing resumed. Sitting third, Turkington found himself under pressure from Mat Jackson and Adam Morgan, but managed to fend them off. It was typical of the fighting spirit that Turkington has shown all season – it would have been easy for the championship leader to cede the place, but he defended hard.
There was a second safety car period a few laps later when Warren Scott became stranded after contact with Nick Foster. Just before this, Plato had taken over the lead of the race from teammate Tordoff. However, crucially in his bid to clinch the title, Turkington had set the fastest lap of the race, putting himself in a position to claim the extra point that goes with it.
Following this second restart, Turkington briefly challenged Tordoff for second, but eventually settled for third.
That was it at the front. Plato claimed a fifth win of the year, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Turkington claiming the title. Tordoff finished second, with Turkington third. Fourth place went to Mat Jackson, with Adam Morgan in fifth. Rob Collard claimed an impressive sixth place, having started 23rd on the grid. Fabrizio Giovanardi, Tom Ingram, Andrew Jordan and Nick Foster completed the top ten.
Colin Turkington had done enough to be crowned 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion.
Colin Turkington said, “I didn’t realise I had won until I pulled into parc ferme. I thought I needed one more point! I’ve been working so hard for this, but when you reach your goal, it’s an amazing feeling.
“I got a great start and found myself on the outside at turn one. I probably shouldn’t have been there, but as usual, I went on full attack. I only really backed off in the last few laps.
“The team have been amazing this year. There hasn’t been one track where we haven’t been on the podium.”
Jason Plato said, “Colin is world class, and obviously, the BMW has been the car to have this year. He’s a very deserving champion. This is his moment and he needs to enjoy it.”