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Turkington holds off Neal and Plato in final BTCC thriller

Sunday, March 30 2014

Colin Turkington won a thrilling final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch today (Sunday), holding off fellow champions Matt Neal and Jason Plato.

With Rob Collard and Nick Foster on the front row of the reverse grid and Turkington third, unsurprisingly the three BMWs led into the first corner. Fabrizio Giovanardi fell foul at Paddock Hill and both Martin Depper and Glyn Geddie were off at Graham Hill. The race continued, and Rob Collard led, but came under attack from Colin Turkington as the eBay team began to consolidate their advantage.

A move on the inside at Clearways on lap six gave Turkington the advantage into Paddock Hill and he took the lead of the race. However for Nick Foster the omens were not so good, as he was called in for a drive-through penalty for lining up ahead of his grid marking at the start of the race.

This promoted Matt Neal to third, and he had team mate Gordon Shedden to protect him from the chasing pack, headed by Adam Morgan, Sam Tordoff, Mat Jackson, Jason Plato and Andrew Jordan. Tom Ingram, Jack Goff and Dave Newsham also kept with this group as they squabbled for places. Alain Menu joined in too, but he tipped Ingram off the circuit on the Cooper Straight and this meant that the race had to be neutralised whilst the stricken Speedworks Toyota was recovered.

Neal made a good restart but the BMWs were too strong for him and quickly pulled out a gap on the lead Honda. Meanwhile the two MGs disputed sixth place, Plato demoting his team mate at Druids. He then lunged at Morgan at Paddock Hill and was into fifth place, and not long after wrested fourth from Shedden.

Meanwhile Menu was getting stuck in too, as Jordan found himself going backwards, and into the clutches of Goff and Newsham. Goff was enjoying plenty of grip just as much as Menu and Plato, and the trio was joined by Mat Jackson too, as they attacked the Hondas.

With two laps to go they had caught Collard, who now had to act as his team mate's rear gunner. It didn't last as Neal and Plato both cleared him into Paddock Hill, then Menu took Shedden into the final lap.

For Turkington, however, there was enough of a gap and in a third champions' podium of the day, Neal headed Plato. Collard kept fourth, with Menu fifth on his return to the championship, Shedden sixth, Jackson seventh and Goff eighth. Newsham and Morgan completed the top ten, whilst Jordan placed 13th.

"It's a great day for me and the eBay team," Turkington explained after the race. "Like everyone we didn't know what to expect, but the car is a big step forward and it gives me confidence in the high speed corners. With the three BMWs running at the sharp end of the grid we are in a good position. It's fantastic and just amazing how quickly the day can turn around. Hopefully we can keep this going."

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race Three
1, Colin Turkington, eBay Motors, BMW, 27 Laps
2, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, +1.114s
3, Jason Plato, MG, +1.446s
4, Rob Collard, eBay Motors, BMW, +2.432s
5, Alain Menu, BMR, VW, +2.660s
6, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, +3.378s
7, Mat Jackson, Airwaves, Ford, +3.550s
8, Jack Goff, BMR, Vauxhall, +3.803s
9, Dave Newsham, AmD, Ford, +6.395s
10, Adam Morgan, WIX, Mercedes, +8.728s

A full race result can be viewed here.

Championship standings
1, Andrew Jordan, 47
2, Matt Neal, 45
3, Colin Turkington, 44
4, Gordon Shedden, 40
5, Jason Plato, 38
6, Rob Collard, 34
7, Adam Morgan, 18
8, Sam Tordoff, 17
9, Nick Foster, 16
10, Rob Austin, 16

The next major event at Brands Hatch is the British Truck Racing Championship on 12/13 April. Tickets are available from £18, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.