BTCC - Turkington and Giovonardi win, Seat suffer at Croft

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BTCC - Turkington and Giovonardi win, Seat suffer at Croft

Post by Ross on Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:41 pm

The first race was cut short due to bad weather conditions, but Turkington won

Croft race 1: Turkington declared winner

Colin Turkington has been declared the winner of a dramatically shortened first HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship race at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire with full points awarded.

The race originally started as intended, but was stopped five laps in following an accident involving the Team RAC BMW 320si of Stephen Jelley and Robertshaw Racing Honda Integra of Alan Taylor.

A re-start over eight laps was declared with Team Halfords’ Gordon Shedden and BMW Dealer Team UK’s Mat Jackson – who had been running 1-2 at the time of the stoppage – starting from the front row of the grid.

Jackson took full advantage of his BMW 320si’s rear-wheel-drive traction to drag past into the lead at the first bend but further round the lap, at a now waterlogged Tower corner, he slithered straight on and rejoined back in 18th position.

This gave Shedden’s Honda Civic the lead but, under pressure from Colin Turkington’s RAC BMW 320si, he ran wide at the hairpin. This allowed both Turkington and the following Vauxhall Vectra VXR of Matt Neal to slip past. Behind, Tom Chilton’s Halfords Honda had also gone off – permanently – at Tower and, with increasing amounts of standing water appearing around the track, officials chose to bring it to a premature end on safety grounds.

The top three finishers were classified as Turkington, Neal and Shedden. Fourth after starting 12th having skilfully taken advantage of incidents ahead of him, was points leader and reigning champion, Vauxhall’s Fabrizio Giovanardi.

Robert Collard achieved his best result to date in 2008 with fifth in his Motorbase BMW. Next up came Mike Jordan’s John Guest Honda Integra, Kane’s Motorbase team-mate Steven Kane, Adam Jones’s Team Air Cool SEAT Leon and – enjoying his first top ten finish – an ecstatic Michael Doyle, ninth in his In-Tune Racing Honda Civic. Andrew Jordan, who’d started towards the rear of the grid in his John Guest Honda after mechanical problems in qualifying, completed the top ten.

The race had promised much for the factory SEAT but turned into a disaster. Darren Turner, who had originally started from pole position in his Leon TDI, was way down in 15th after running off the track on lap one. Team-mate Jason Plato, who had qualified third and looked all set to take points out of Giovanardi at the top of the table, fared only slightly better in 12th – he’d slithered off the track on his way to the grid and was ordered to start at the back from the pit lane.

Another of the fancied runners, Vauxhall’s Tom Onslow-Cole, also had a race to forget. At the restart the hero of Thruxton two weeks ago followed Jackson off the track and was classified two places behind the BMW d river in 20th.

Leading positions, BTCC Croft race 1 (provisional):
1. Colin Turkington (GBR), Team RAC/BMW 320si, 2 laps in 4m07.301s
2. Matt Neal (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +1.007s
3. Gordon Shedden (GBR), Team Halfords/Honda Civic, +1.973s
Fastest lap: Shedden, 1m37.870s (78.97mph)

Colin Turkington took race victory number two of the day, but Mat Jackson starred

Croft race 2: Turkington wins, Jackson stars

Colin Turkington has won the second of today’s HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at Croft, but the star of the show was fellow BMW driver Mat Jackson who almost won from 18th on the grid.

Team RAC driver Turkington, winner of the day’s first race, led all the way from pole position.

But right around the final lap he was under intense pressure from BMW Dealer Team UK’s Jackson who, on a wet but drying track, had sensationally overtaken 17 other drivers to get into second place.

Turkington almost lost control of his car at the penultimate corner but held on to cross the line just 0.101s ahead of Jackson who took second.

Third was Vauxhall’s Matt Neal – a result that has strengthened his hold on second position in the championship – and fourth the Motorbase BMW of Robert Collard, his best result to date in 2008.

Vauxhall’s Fabrizio Giovanardi finished the race in fifth to stay in command at the top of the table heading into this afternoon’s third race which is scheduled to start at 4.35pm.

Starting it from pole position, after the reversed grid draw, will be Mike Jordan's John Guest Racing Honda Integra.

SEAT's Jason Plato, who finished eighth, remains third in the standings but is just three points ahead of Jackson wh, in turn, is only one in front of Turkington.

Two drivers who could feel aggrieved at not finishing inside the top six were Gordon Shedden and Steven Kane. After contact while battling for second early on with Neal, Shedden's Team Halfords Honda spun off the track into a barrier. Kane looked to be on course for fifth starting the final lap but his Motorbase BMW left the track and slowly crawled back to the pit lane after being passed by both Giovanardi and Adam Jones's Team Air Cool SEAT Leon which finished sixth.

Fleetingly, Michael Doyle in the tiny In-Tune Racing team's Honda Civic, also starred, running ninth on the opening lap before sliding off the track and retiring with accident damage to his car.

Meanwhile, Turkington now jointly leads the Independents championship with Jones with Jackson third, only three points behind.

Leading positions, BTCC Croft race 2 (provisional):
1. Colin Turkington (GBR), Team RAC/BMW 320si, 16 laps in 26m24.098s
2. Mat Jackson (GBR), BMW Dealer Team UK/BMW 320si, +0.101s
3. Matt Neal (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +3.712s
Fastest lap: Steven Kane (GBR), Motorbase/BMW 320si, 1m35.559s (80.05mph)

Fabrizio took the third win of the day

Croft race 3: Giovanardi wins

Fabrizio Giovanardi has won the third of today’s HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire.

Reigning champion Giovanardi, starting from third on the grid, spent the opening laps trapped behind the impressive Robert Collard's Motorbase BMW but once past was never headed.

The Italian also set the race’s fastest lap to score a bonus point which has given him a commanding 23-point championship lead over team-mate Matt Neal who finished the race in third.

Splitting the two Vauxhall drivers was the independent Team Air Cool SEAT Leon of Adam Jones – equalling his best-ever previous result of second.

Jones had forced his way into second with a perfectly-judged move past Collard at Sunny In. Collard was momentarily delayed and, as he attempted to fall back into line, his car was swiped by Mike Jordan's following John Guest Honda Integra.

Collard managed just one more lap before retiring with accident damage. Jordan would also retire later after running off the track and damaging his car while fending off Neal for third.

Indeed, the race was full of incident and only 13 finishers made it across the line. As Jordan ran off the track, hero of race two Mat Jackson was momentarily delayed in his BMW 320si which allowed Tom Chilton's Team Halfords Honda Civic to pass him for what was an eventual fourth place finish.

SEAT drivers Jason Plato and Darren Turner both came to grief in contact with other drivers. Plato's Leon TDI rode high up the side of Colin Turkington's Team RAC BMW 320si and thereafter trailed around at the tail of the field. Turkington, the winner of the day's opening two races, was able to recover and finish eighth. Turner, meanwhile, went out shortly after a safety car period in a tangle with Jackson at the opening bend, Clervaux.

The safety car period had been required after Martyn Bell's Arkas Racing with Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch had become stranded at Tower corner and John George's TH Motorsport/JAG Honda Integra had crashed heavily into the barriers exiting the daunting Jim Clark Esses.

The BTCC now takes a six-week break before returning for the start to the second half of its season at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on Sunday 13 July.

Leading positions, BTCC Croft race 3 (provisional):
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, 18 laps in 28m31.186s
2. Adam Jones (GBR), Team Air Cool/SEAT Leon, +1.592s
3. Matt Neal (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +1.820s
Fastest lap: Giovanardi, 1m26.547s

Leading points positions (provisional):
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), 145 points
2. Matt Neal (GBR), 122
3. Mat Jackson (GBR), 102
4. Jason Plato (GBR), 99
5. Colin Turkington (GBR), 98
6. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), 97

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