Aiden Moffat becomes the sixteenth race winner of the 2018 British Touring Car Championship followed closely by Tom Ingram and Colin Turkington – as the Championship fight ends for some.
Pole sitter Moffat got off to a great start as second place man Jack Goff struggled way from the line having crept a little before the lights went out. A move that would later result in Goff having to take a drive-through penalty ruining his race. He eventually went on to finish a lonely twenty-second, putting him out of the overall Championship ahead of the Finale at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.
The opening few laps was your typical reverse grid BTCC race with every driver fighting for every single position they could.
Rob Austin found himself in third but was coming under increasing pressure from Turkington, however, Austin made the Alfa Romeo very wide as he fought to protect the final podium position.
Ollie Pidgley went off into the gravel at Woodcote on lap eight due to some rear right suspension damage which brought out the safety car.
This was bad news for Moffat who had about a one second lead over Tom Ingram, who despite carrying maximum ballast was looking very quick and competitive.
On the restart, Ingram was applying the pressure to race leader Moffat as the battle for the lead became sixth with Austin still holding off Turkington for third, Tom Chilton running fifth with Josh Cook at the rear of the queue in sixth.
After many laps of frustration, Turkington finally found a way past the ‘wide’ Alfa Romeo of Austin thanks to a good exit out of Luffield Having got past Chilton, Cook follows the two-time Champion Turkington through as he goes side-by-side with Austin through Copse, getting the move completed under braking at the Magotts and Becketts complex.
The front three of Moffat, Ingram and Turkington pulled away from Austin, Cook and Chilton as they continued in a magnificent scrap which soon fell into the clutches of the two Honda Yuasa Racing cars of seventh-placed Matt Neal and eighth-placed Dan Cammish. However, the two Honda’s failed to make up any positions as Cook finished fourth, Austin fifth, Chilton sixth, Neal seventh and Cammish eighth – which sees him clinch the 2018 Jack Sears Trophy.
As the leading three came into Brooklands for the final time, Turkington dived up the inside of Ingram in one final attempt to take second and more importantly, get more points over his Championship rival ahead of the Brands Hatch Finale. Realising this, Ingram got his elbows out and kept second.
After the race, Aiden Moffat commented, “I was confident that I was going to get away, but I had a feeling that (Tom) Ingram and (Colin) Turkington would be there at the end, they got there a bit sooner than I had hoped. With two drivers like that behind you, especially at a track we do struggle at, it was tough. That’s one’s definitely going to be memorable for me, that’s the hardest I’ve ever had to fight for a win. That meant a lot after the way things have gone for me recently, the team have put in an amazing effort as always and I’ve been letting them down a bit recently, so I’ve put a lot of effort into this weekend.”
He concluded, “There are a few drivers you don’t want to see behind you and Tom’s defiantly up there.”
Second place finisher Tom Ingram commented, “I was mindful of not putting myself in a vulnerable position because I knew Aiden was hugely desperate for a win – and rightly so. I couldn’t afford to take the risk because I knew Colin was closing up behind quickly, so I had to be a little bit tactical. I knew I was stronger at Brooklands but you’ve got to get a real overlap. I was trying to put myself in a position and that’s exactly what I did on the last lap, I knew that Aiden would go to the inside which meant there was no point in me going to the inside as well because Colin would then go the outside, whichever way I went, he would go the opposite. So, I had to go the outside to box Colin into that gap which worked.”
He continued, “That was a hugely important day for us, we’ve done the job we needed too, we’ve closed the gap down (to Colin Turkington) so it’s on to Brands Hatch. I think we’re in the best shape possible heading into Brands (Hatch), you’d say we’ve got the stronger car, we’re going to be lighter on weight – I think we’re in the driving seat here. Colin’s got it all to lose and we’ve got it all to gain. We’ve gone well at Brands Hatch in the past, last year we took forty-two points out of Colin in the final two races so we can do it – it’s just a case of putting it into next weekend as well.”
Third-placed Colin Turkington said, “I had pressure for breakfast this morning! I’ve been here before, I’m really enjoying it this year, last year I was the one doing the hunting and was trying to claw the points back but weren’t really getting anywhere. Sometimes you have to try really hard and that’s more difficult when you’re chasing and taking more risks like Tom had to do in that last race to keep me behind. I’m enjoying it, this is what we live for – after missing out late last year I’m more determined this year. I’m looking forward to Brands.”
He admitted, “Fate will play its cards at the Brands Hatch weekend. After last year, I hope the stars are aligned in my direction this year, but I’ve got more determination this year, it doesn’t matter that I’ve won it twice already.”
2018 Jack Sears Trophy winner Dan Cammish said, “It’s great, it’s a fantastic trophy to win and I’m very proud to do so, some great drivers have won it before including Ash Sutton and we all know what he went on to do.”
However, he also admitted, “It’s not the trophy I wanted to win but it’s a nice first trophy to put in the cabinet meaning we can go to Brands with a bit less pressure and do the best job we can for the overall Championship.”
With the day over and just three races left, there are three drivers who are still in with a shout at winning the overall Championship, Colin Turkington, Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton. All three have had a fantastic year and are all very good drivers but anything can happen in the BTCC so it will be an interesting Finale at Brands Hatch.
Header image by TouringCars.Net
By Jordan Hollands.