It seems crazy to think that the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship is nearly over when the circus rolls into Silverstone this weekend for rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the 2018 season. As always, there has been plenty of great racing, close fights and drama that the BTCC has always delivered in its prestigious sixty-year history.
Due to other commitments and summer holidays, there was no race reports from the last two rounds at Rockingham and Silverstone which I sincerely apologise for, so before we look ahead to this weekend, let’s look back at the action from Rockingham and a very wet Knockhill.
At the BTCC’s last ever visit to Rockingham, it was Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan who took pole position – his first in the highly competitive Championship. Motorbase Performance’s Sam Tordoff was second, a tenth behind Morgan with Dan Cammish third. Mike Bushell qualified a very impressive fourth with a great lap.
Adam Morgan converted pole position into race victory followed by a hard-charging Ashley Sutton from tenth on the grid. Tom Chilton completed the podium in third.
It was the reigning Champion Ash Sutton who took victory in race two with Adam Morgan second and Tom Ingram third in a steller drive from the rear of the grid after a DNF in the opening encounter of the day.
It was a first ever BTCC win for Chris Smiley in race three, claiming the BTC Norlin squad’s second of the season after Daniel Lloyd was victorious in race three at Croft earlier in the season. Colin Turkington came home second in what was a weekend that was all about consistency after a seventh in race one followed by a fifth in race two. Matt Simpson completed the podium in third, after which he would later confirm he would split with Eurotech Racing for the remainder of the campaign.
The hills of Scotland were alive with the sound of racing two weeks later with a contrasting weekend weather wise. In the glorious Scottish sunshine, it was Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish who took his second (first) ever pole position after his one at Brands Hatch earlier in the season was taken away due to him missing the weigh-in bridge. Behind him were three very quick BMW’s, one of which people may not have expected to be that high up the order in the shape of Stephen Jelley. Andrew Jordan was third and Colin Turkington fourth.
It was Ashley Sutton who capitalised on the soaking wet track to win race one from eighth on the grid. Colin Turkington came home second after a controversial incident with Stephen Jelley which saw Jelley’s race finish in the gravel trap. Dan Cammish finished a very respectable third.
There was more drama and controversy in race two as Ashley Sutton took the flag for the second time of the day followed closely by Tom Ingram. However, both drivers were excluded from the race due to both of their cars failing the post-race ride height check. BMR appealed the decision as they said it was down to the vast amounts of standing water on the track. Andrew Jordan inherited the race win followed Josh Cook and Dan Cammish.
Tom Chilton picked up his first race win since returning to the series last year in the final race of the day. Colin Turkington finished second with another strong weekend in which he picked up more vital Championship points. Andrew Jordan completed the podium with one of his stronger weekends of the season.
Championship leader Colin Turkington leads the circus into Silverstone this weekend with a forty-three-point advantage at the top of the standings ahead of Tom Ingram with six races still to go and loads more points still available in the remaining two weekends of the year.
After a difficult start to the campaign, Ashley Sutton has moved up to third in the standings, fifty-one points behind Turkington, and just eight behind Ingram.
Tom Ingram leads the Independents standings, looking to retain the crown he won last year. He holds a fifteen-point lead to Tom Chilton who currently sits in second with Jack Goff a further eighteen points behind. Adam Morgan sits two points behind third-placed Goff.
Even though there are still plenty of points all-to-play for, it is a big weekend for the Championship protagonists who will want a big points haul to carry into the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Finale on the final weekend in September.
It will be a difficult weekend for Colin Turkington as carries maximum ballast into Qualifying and race one which Tom Ingram and Ashley Sutton amongst others will look to capitalize on.
However, bearing that in mind, every driver will also look for consistency at this point in the season as even one non-points finish could prove pivotal in their Championship position come the end of the season.
In 2017, it was Jack Goff who qualified on pole with the race wins going the way of Tom Ingram, Jack Goff and Matt Neal.
It’s hard to predict what will happen this weekend given the open nature of the Championship but I’m sure it will be another fantastic weekend of racing around the Silverstone National Circuit.
By Jordan Hollands.