The fourth weekend in this years Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season produced some brilliant and frenetic racing in front of a huge crowd at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire.
Matt Simpson kicked off a memorable day of racing as he converted his first ever BTCC pole position into his first ever win in the series with a dominant lights to flag victory in the days opener.
He made a great getaway off the line which meant he was safe from any potential danger from the Motorbase pair of Sam Tordoff and Tom Chilton behind, although the Ford pair did however swap positions going into Old Hall Corner on lap 1. Chilton, Tordoff and Team BMW’s Andrew Jordan kept the Honda Civic Type R of Simpson honest throughout the race, but ultimately they couldn’t get near enough to make a challenge for the lead.
Tom Chilton managed to hold onto second place, but first he had to fend off numerous attacks from Tordoff and then from Jordan. The BMW eventually got past Sam Tordoff on lap 8 and that is how the top three would finish.
In the second encounter of the day, it would be Team BMW’s Colin Turkington who would claim the second win of the day in the sunshine after some great clean racing from the Northern Irishman.
Turkington got past Chilton early on and then never looked back as the Ford was unable to hold on to the lead carrying a lot of ballast. There was another change in the top three as the Honda Civic Type R of Matt Neal eventually made a move stick on Chilton to take second spot behind Turkington. The Motorbase man held on to take his second podium of the day.
The day’s action concluded with a superb 1-2-3 finish for Team BMW with Rob Collard claiming his first win of the season after starting second on the grid.
The race was originally red flagged after a huge start line incident left Chris Smiley, Tom Oliphant, Dan Lloyd, and Rory Butcher stranded all over the circuit, putting them all into early retirement. The race was reduced to a 12 lap encounter.
The race got underway again with Rob Austin on pole making a clean getaway, but with the rear wheel drive BMW by his side, it was always going to be tough defending into the first corner and Collard raced past. Austin kept Collard on his toes during the early parts of the race, before heartbreak robbed him of his second podium of the season. A broken differential meant Austin slowed and forced him into retirement, which promoted Collard’s team mate Jordan into second spot.
By this point Turkington was up to third having made a number of stellar moves on the way. Most notably by the Ford duo of Tom Chilton and James Cole. Jack Goff in the Eurotech Honda had a great final encounter by following Turkington through the melee as he took fourth place.
The fight for fifth was an exciting one, as a hard charging Adam Morgan had made his way through the pack from eleventh place and eventually benefitted from a number of incidents to claim a top five spot.
This would be a huge result for BMW as all three drivers would step up onto the podium and not only that, but Colin Turkington would leave Oulton Park as the new championship leader.
BMW also head up the manufacturers and teams standings, which outlines what a massive weekend the team had. Jack Goff and Eurotech leave with the top spot in both Independents’ tables.
The BTCC returns in two weeks time at Croft in North Yorkshire.
Words: Matt Gough
Pictures: Eric Barnes Photography