FLASH HOLDS ON TO AN UNLIKELY CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
As Shakespeare once said when he was reviewing an early BTCC race at Stratford “a thirty race season provides plenty of opportunities for every driver to experience the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” – and the return of this year’s contest after its summer break certainly delivered its fair share of drama for Cobra drivers.
For Championship leader Gordon Shedden qualifying was a minor tragedy: Saddled with the maximum 75 kilograms of success ballast, “Flash” finished the session 21th on the grid – 1.657s slower than the pole sitter – while teammate Matt Neal experienced some remarkable twists in the plot, sitting third in the order in the first half of the session, failing a ride height test which demoted him to 23rd … only to successfully appeal the ride height decision after the session, which promoted him to fourth on the grid for race one.
Shedden’s disappointing start to the meet continued in race one – finishing a relatively uneventful 13th, though Matt improved on his grid position to finish third. Other “Cobra drivers” also picked up valuable points with the WSR BMW’s of Andrew Jordan, Colin Turkington and Rob Collard finishing fourth, seventh and ninth respectively, Jake Hill steering his Team Hard VW to sixth and Tom Ingram finishing eighth in his Speedworks Toyota.
Race two saw West Surrey Racing strengthen its grip on the Team Title with a second place for Colin Turkington, a third for Rob Collard and a sixth for Andrew Jordan, while Halfords Yuasa Racing consolidated second place in the table with a seventh place for Shedden and a ninth for Matt Neal.
On to race three and misfortune for one Cobra driver in the shape of Andrew Jordan finally helped Shedden’s day end on an unlikely high.
Jordan seemed in control throughout the race – inching out a narrow lead from Shedden in second, Collard in third and Turkington in fourth, but disaster struck on the penultimate lap when his BMW slowed with a suspected electrical issue as it left the Wilson hairpin, leaving Shedden to inherit the lead and take his third win of the season. A task made slightly easier by the “family squabble” between Rob Collard and Colin Turkington who had a combative final lap to decide second and third.
Tom Ingram’s Speedworks Toyota came out on top in a hard-fought duel with the Team Hard Volkswagen of Jake Hill to decide sixth and seventh.
Shedden now leads the championship by just two points from Turkington, with Collard the same gap back in third. A trio of Cobra drivers also take fifth, sixth and seventh in the table (with Tom Ingram leading Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan), with Rob Austin in tenth.