Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Motorbase Almost Do A Double At Brands Hatch BTCC Opener

The BTCC season opened with rounds 1 to 3 at Brands Hatch on 5th April and did not disappoint.

I was able to attend without Mrs L2F and junior in tow for a change! (They were off enjoying themselves at a third birthday party - I think I know who got the best deal!)

The weather was fine - Spring sunshine but with the usual chill wind that we know to expect at Brands Hatch this time of year.

I arrived there nice and early having had no problems with traffic. It seemed to me that the car parks were less full than on previous visits. Could be a sign of the times. Inside the circuit there were definitely fewer trade stands and not many freebies being given out.

I am pleased to report that the Pitstopper breakfast in the Hailwood Restaurant is still as good as ever and worth the money at £ 6.50. Having refuelled I headed trackside to watch the first race.

Matt Neal made a very poor start from pole position and the BMW's of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard drove immediately through to the front of the pack.

At the same time, further down the field Jelley in his second year in the BTCC was the villain of the piece taking out both Shedden and Adam.

Following a couple of periods behind the safety car, the Vauxhalls of Neal and his team mate Giovanardi eventually managed to overhaul Turkington and Collard. The third Vauxhall driven by Andrew Jordan retired with a mechanical gremlin but he had driven very well in his first outing with the VX-R team. Something for his more senior team mates to bear in mind later in the season.

The race ended - Neal (1st), Giovanardi (2nd), Turkington (3rd).

Race 2 saw a well deserved victory for Rob Collard in his Motorbase Airwaves BMW after a hard fought battle with Team RAC's Colin Turkington. Turks had lead virtually the whole race after again overhauling Neal at the start only to lose the lead to Collard a couple of laps from the finish.

Matt Neal finished the race with another podium while Jelley redeemed himself somewhat for his earlier misdemeanors by finishing fourth - his best showing to date in the BTCC.

The race ended - Collard (1st), Turkington (2nd), Neal (3rd)

I have made little mention of Jason Plato so far. Having finished in tenth place in race two, Plato was lucky enough to find himself on pole position for race three having benefited from the reverse grid draw.

He was overtaken, following a heavy shunt to the rear of his Chevrolet Lacetti, by the second Airwaves BMW of BTCC rookie Jonathan Adam who had started from P2 on the grid.
Adam lead all the way to the chequered flag whilst Plato, Neal, Turkington and Shedden squabbled over second, third and fourth places.
Alas, the dream debut for Adam and the double for the Motorbase team was not to be. The stewards handed Adam a time penalty for the havey handed pass on Plato dropping him to second and passing the victory to Plato.
The race ended - Plato (1st), Adam (2nd), Neal (3rd).
Looking forward to the next rounds at Thruxton later this month. Will be interesting to see if Plato will be there and if Matt Neal can continue his form.
For details of the 2009 BTCC calendar please clicke here

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