BTCC Thruxton round 4 review

Credit: BTCC

The weekend of May 18th to the 19th sees the BTCC rock up at Thruxton for the third round of the championship. Thruxton is the fastest circuit in the UK, it’s a fearsome place characterised by fast sweeping corners and long straights; like any truly old school track, it’s a circuit that demands commitment and bravery, the faint of heart need not apply.

Practice on Saturday saw the Honda Civic Type R’s of Dan Cammish & Matt Neal pace the day, the Honda’s relatively low drag profile but strong engine furnishing them with plenty of speed. The Saturday was not without drama, as per usual BTCC fashion.

Mark Blundell baulked Tom Chilton during qualifying and the resulting contact between them caused severe damage to Chilton & Blundell’s car. The resultant red flag meant Chilton lost his time and was put to the back of the grid for race 1, giving Chilton a big uphill task for the rest of the weekend.

Race 1 on Sunday saw Sam Tordoff starting from pole position in the old FK2 shape Honda Civic Type R with Dan Cammish flanking him in second place, driving the factory FK8 shape Honda Civic Type R.

The race got underway cleanly with Tordoff making a good start but Cammish bogging down which allowed Andrew Jordan to sneak past in his Pirtek BMW 330, Jordan putting the BMW’s rear wheel drive traction to good use. The top 4 made a break from the rest of the field, partially due to their quicker pace, but also due the top 4 not becoming embroiled in on track battles with one another early on.

The race ran quite sedately, a boring BTCC race in the making? Nope, because there’s always going to be some sort of drama. With 3 laps left to run Sam Tordoff at Church, the fastest corner on the track lost momentum; Tordoff distracted by an alarm blaring in his Civic, the momentary lapse of concentration slow him just enough to allow Andrew Jordan to get a run on him and overtake into the final chicane. Eventually, Tordoff would find himself struggling with power steering issues as the race wore on.

Jordan steadily eked out a gap to Tordoff. On the final lap, Tordoff had an identical alarm blaring in his Honda Civic, finding himself losing momentum once again. This time, it was Dan Cammish who was lining up a move on Tordoff, who by this point was wise to it. Tordoff held Cammish off into the final corner. The results of race 1 are as follows:

  1. Andrew Jordan
  2. Sam Tordoff
  3. Dan Cammish
  4. Colin Turkington
  5. Rory Butcher
Credit: BTCC

Race 2 would see Andrew Jordan starting from the pole position following his race 1 win, the weekend a total reversal of his horrendous Donington Park weekend.

The race got off to a clean start once again and Jordan made an exemplary start thanks to the traction advantage the BMW 330 enjoys off the line. Jordan however wouldn’t have it so easy with defending champion Colin Turkington piling on the pressure from the very start.

Jordan meanwhile was defending from a charging Turkington carrying the full 54kg of success ballast. Jordan & Turkington set sail very quickly, gapping the rest of the field. Turkington made numerous attempts throughout the race to overtake Jordan but couldn’t make any attempt stick.

Behind the leading duo, Dan Cammish ran into Sam Tordoff at the final chicane, the subsequent time lost for both meant Jason Plato was able to home in on the tail of Tordoffs Civic. Plato would eventually make his way by Tordoff and Matt Neal would follow as well.

Jason Plato & Matt Neal rekindled their age old rivalry and duked it out on-track for fourth position, although this time there was no barging each other off track like the old days. Eventually, Plato bested Neal for fourth place.

Andrew Jordan meanwhile put in a fantastic drive to hold off Colin Turkington, making it 2 out of 2. Turkington finished in second, Cammish brought is Honda home in third while Jason Plato ended race 2 in fourth with Matt Neal trailing him in fifth.

Race 2 results

  1. Andrew Jordan
  2. Colin Turkington
  3. Dan Cammish
  4. Jason Plato
  5. Matt Neal
Credit: BTCC

The final race of the day began to changeable and potentially problematic conditions with rain falling in the first sector of the track.

Ash Sutton made a strong start from pole postion, courtesy of the traditional race 3 reverse grid draw, but as he entered Allards he was overly cautious allowing Josh Cook to overtake. Behind the leading pack Rob Collard attempted to overtake Rory Butcher, but in doing so span and Adam morgan arriving into the corner unsighted clattered into the stricken Vauxhall Astra of Collard. It brought out the first of two safety car periods during race 3.

Josh Cook led the field away upon the race restart and steadily pulled away. Ash Sutton meanwhile was coming under pressure from Rory Butcher, Butcher’s chase was eventually rewarded as he put a move on Sutton at Goodwood corner and made it stick, elevating himself into second place.

Drama was not far away though and once again Rob Collard was involved. A resurgent Collard nerfed Rob Smith’s MG6 sending him spinning into the path of Carl Boardley’s VW Passat bringing out the second safety car of the race.

The final restart once again saw Josh Cook make a break in the lead while Rory Butcher and Ash Sutton sprinter away from the chasing pack but couldn’t live with Josh Cook’s pace. The race continued much this way; on the final lap Ash Sutton was lining up a move on Rory Butcher, steadily building up momentum but losing it all Church as he ran wide and was not in a position to attempt a move on Butcher.

Josh Cook took another well-earned win with the chasing Rory Butcher in second, Ash Sutton in third, Matt Neal in fourth and Tom Ingram rounding out the top 5.

Race 3 results

  1. Josh Cook
  2. Rory Butcher
  3. Ash Sutton
  4. Matt Neal
  5. Tom Ingram

At the close of the weekend, the championship standings are as follows:

  1. Colin Turkington – 102 points
  2. Rory Butcher – 102 points
  3. Josh Cook – 100 points
  4. Ash Sutton – 97 points
  5. Matt Neal – 85 points

While Turkington & Butcher are tied at the top with 102 points, Turkington is technically scored as the championship leader as he was won more races this year than Butcher.

Round 4 of the BTCC moves to North Yorkshire and the technical challenge of Croft on the weekend of June 15th to June 16th.

Credit: BTCC

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