Tordoff wins his first race of the season!

Sam Tordoff secured his first win of the 2018 British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone after coming under increasing pressure from Motorbase Performance teammate Tom Chilton in the closing stages. In just his third BTCC weekend, Ricky Collard put in a cracking drive to take third position for West Surrey Racing.

Tordoff got a great start from pole position and moved over to cover off the fast-starting Ricky Collard. Collard tried to go around the outside of Tordoff at Copse but ran out wide on the exit and dropped to fifth.

Ricky Collard tried to go around the outside of Sam Tordoff at the start. Photo credit: British Touring Car Championhip

Tom Chilton slotted in behind his teammate with Andrew Jordan moving up to third from fifth on the grid.

The first bit of drama came on lap two as Rob Austin slid across the grass at the inside of Magotts and hit Matt Neal as he came back across the tarmac spinning the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda – forcing Neal to retire due to damage to the rear right suspension.

Josh Cook then went into the gravel at Brooklands a lap later bringing out the safety car.

With a new race distance of twenty-five laps and with all the gaps closed up, Tordoff knew he had to get off to a great start on the restart. That’s exactly what he did, as he led the field out of Luffield, Tordoff booted it leaving Tom Chilton to defend from the chasing pack.

After dropping a couple of places on the opening lap, Collard was moving back up the order – firstly by out-dragging Jack Goff on the Wellington Straight moving him up to fourth and then when his West Surrey Racing teammate Andrew Jordan lost power coming out of Luffield on lap eleven, Collard found himself in the podium paying positions.

Reigning champion Ashley Sutton dived up the inside of James Cole at Brooklands, but Cole stayed on the outside giving him the inside for Luffield. Sutton tried the cut back but tagged the rear left corner of Cole’s Ford Focus RS and sent him out wide moving Sutton up to fourteenth which would become thirteenth a lap later when he went around the outside of Aiden Moffat at Brooklands.

Championship leader Colin Turkington went around the outside of Brett Smith at Brooklands who also lost out to Tom Oliphant and Dan Cammish at Copse too. A lap later, Rory Butcher went around the outside at Brooklands ending a hard lap for the Eurotech Racing man.

Tordoff held on to the win followed closely home by his Motorbase Performance teammate Tom Chilton with Ricky Collard coming home third.

After the race, Tordoff commented, “It was long overdue, wasn’t it? The first job was getting a good start because I knew Ricky (Collard) would be quick off the line, I moved across just in time and then I tried to settle into a rhythm. I made one small mistake about half way through where I touched the gravel on the exit of Luffield and Tom (Chilton) got a run and I knew I made it difficult for myself then, but I wasn’t going to let this one go! A big thanks to the team because this has been a long time coming.”

Tom Chilton said, “He (Sam Tordoff) has been so fast, he mad one mistake at Luffield and I thought ‘Here we go, his fronts are going off’ – and then my engineer said ‘There’s ten laps left’ and I thought I’d overtake him. I was really strong at Brooklands, but we turn in really early under brakes, so it was practically impossible to overtake there. I gave it one big push on the last lap and I think our bumpers were millimetres apart. Our team has done a great job, they’ve been faultless all weekend, so all credit to them.”

Speaking after his first BTCC podium, Ricky Collard said, “It’s unbelievable! I said before I went out there, I’m not going to lift into turn one, and I didn’t lift but it didn’t pay off but it was worth a shot. To come away with a podium is incredible so we’ll see how the rest of the day goes. I’m here just to score points for the team, team BMW with West Surrey Racing have given me a great car and it’s credit to them why I’m here.”

Ricky Collard secured his first BTCC podium during the opening race at Silverstone with a terrific drive. Photo credit: British Touring Car Championship

Jack Goff held on to fourth from Matt Simpson and Adam Morgan in sixth with Mike Bushell coming home seventh – a great result for him and the rest of Team HARD.

Colin Turkington finished eighth and with Tom Ingram finishing fifteenth and Ashley Sutton eleventh, he extends his Championship lead to fifty points with five races left. However, Tom Ingram will have very little ballast in race two, so I’m sure he’ll be on a mission to finish ahead of both Ashley Sutton and Colin Turkington.

Header image by TouringCars.Net

By Jordan Hollands.

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