Gordon Shedden has won the second of today’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire, but there was disaster for Jason Plato who crashed out.
Mat Jackson, starting from pole position after winning the day’s first race in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus ST, built up a huge lead in the opening minutes.
But that would effectively be erased when a brief safety car period was required after Plato’s MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 crunched into the barriers following a clash with Robert Collard’s eBay Motors BMW as they exited the chicane. Despite spinning Collard continued at the tail at the field, but after several pit stops to repair his battered car Plato would eventually retire.
At the re-start Shedden’s Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic was quickly onto Jackson’s Ford before moving past into the chicane. Jackson, his car struggling with maximum success ballast, would also fall victim at the same place to Shedden’s team-mate Neal. This is how it remained to the chequered flag with Shedden leading home Neal in a Honda 1-2 ahead of Jackson.
Shedden’s victory means the first five races of the season have all been won by different drivers. The delighted Fife racer, who finished second to Jackson earlier in the day, commented: “The car just feels great around here and it wasn’t too hard to pass Mat in that one. But I was surprised afterwards – I didn’t feel as if I was lapping quickly enough but no-one came after me.”
Neal’s second place means he has now moved past Plato into the championship lead. He said: “There’s no substitute for points in the bag but it’s very early days. The main thing is it’s a 1-2 for Honda and I’m personally delighted for Gordon after the problems he had at Brands Hatch.”
Jackson added: “The newer 'Next Generation' cars like the Honda run slightly bigger tyres compared to the S2000-based cars such as the Focus and, with maximum ballast on board, that told in that one.”
In the closing stages Dave Newsham began pressuring Jackson but had to settle for fourth in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra. But team-mate Chris James involved in a spectacular collision with Redstone's Liam Griffin which put both drivers out of the race on the uphill run to Coppice Corner.
Fifth and sixth places fell to the Pirtek Racing Honda Civics of Andrew Jordan and Jeff Smith. The latter’s sixth place was hard-fought, though, as he came out on top of a lengthy scrap with the Team HARD. Civic of Tony Gilham who finished a career-best seventh.
In the closing stages the recovering Collard overtook both his team-mates Nick Foster and Tom Onslow-Cole to take eighth. He only just kept ahead on the run to the line of Redstone’s Aron Smith who had also followed him past Onslow-Cole on the final lap to grab ninth. Onslow-Cole, who set the race’s fastest lap, took tenth just ahead of Foster and Andy Neate, the MG squad’s sole surviver in 12th.
Having narrowly avoided the James-Griffin incident, Adam Morgan achieved his best result to date in 13th aboard his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis. There was also a well-earned point in 15th for Lea Wood whose BINZ Racing outfit had rushed to fix his Vectra after it had been damaged in the day’s first race.
Plato, James and Griffin aside, Daniel Welch was the race’s only other retirement after his Welch Motorsport Proton Persona had spun at the chicane following a rough ride off the track.
For full race results