Donington was another fantastic round of the BTCC and six different winners from six races highlights just how closely matched and competitive this season is. Who shone at Donington Park and who endured a weekend to forget? Read on to find my roundup of the winners and losers from round two of the 2016 BTCC season
Good Weekend For
West Surrey Racing
WSR’s top speed/straight line issues look well behind them in 2016 and the 2014 drivers champions leave Donington Park with their three drivers 3rd, 4th and 6th in the championship table, and BMW just 7 points off Honda in the manufacturers standings. Goff was the epitome of consistency over the course of the weekend scoring a 4th, 5th and 6th over the three races whilst a win for Rob Collard in race two and a fine podium for Tordoff in race three ensured a successful weekend for the BMW outfit.
Winter developments certainly seem to have paid off for WSR, who look to be among the teams who have made the most of the all new regulations for 2016 and if they can replicate their fine form at smaller twisty circuits (i.e Croft) combined with their new found speed at circuits with lengthy straights, then all three of their drivers will be formidable opponents this season.
Aron Smith and Team BKR
BTCC newcomers Team BKR continue to defy the odds and Aron Smith scored another fine third place finish in race two, for the second round in succession. Smith sits in 7th in the championship table, remarkable for a team which only announced their entry into the BTCC around ten days before the season began. The fact that Aron Smith has scored more than five times the amount of points as the highest placed BMR driver (Turkington) must sit sweetly as the Volkswagen CC continues to outpace the Subaru’s prepared by the team which unceremoniously shamed him at the end of last season. Yet the Volkswagen CC almost the won the title last year, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see Smith finishing regularly inside the top ten.
Motorbase got back to winning ways in style after a disappointing Brands Hatch where I’m sure they expected better results. Jackson shot up to 5th in the standings with a fine 1st and 2nd in races one and two and they now trail only Honda in the teams championship by 30 points.
Whilst Andy Jordan may be disappointed in his weekend’s work, Motorbase can at least be reassured that the Ford Focus which dominated the tail end of 2015 has lost none of it’s potential and is more than capable of taking the fight to Honda and WSR.
Mediocre Weekend For
Despite finishing in the points just once in race one, Turkington was again Subaru’s standout performer on a difficult, but progressive weekend for the new squad. A fine 10th place finish in race one for CT underlines the Levorg’s obvious potential as a championship winning car however a fire for James Cole in race one and DNF’s for Turkington and Scott in races two and three mean the opportunity to collect more valuable data was lost.
Of course, the car has barely been tested and the new Levorg can’t be expected to challenge right away. Plato and Co are confident that in time that the new Subaru will be a championship dominating car, and the rest of the field should be very worried indeed.
Bad Weekend For
It must have pained Jordan to see his teammate Jackson scoop all the plaudits whilst he endured a dogged weekend in the midfield. Such is the competitiveness of this year’s BTCC that if you qualify down the bottom end of the midfield such as Jordan did on Saturday, your weekend is effectively damage limitation and just one top 10 finish in race three was a miserable result for the driver who swapped the then doldrums of Triple Eight for the greener pastures of independent Motorbase.
I’ve no doubt that Jordan will be right back among the frontrunners at Thruxton in two weeks time as he and Jackson are amongst the most capable driver pairing on the grid. And I’m also sure that the Motorbase Pirtek Ford is exactly the car Jordan needs to return him to the winners circle for the first time since 2014, it’s just a matter of time.
Maybe bad is too harsh a word to describe Morgan’s weekend, difficult is probably more apt. It was through no fault of his own that Morgan endured a tough time at Donington after carrying significant ballast over from Brands Hatch but it goes to show yet again the importance of a strong qualifying. 13th, 11th and DNF represent a meagre set of results for the Brands Hatch race three winner who has been a consistent top ten finisher for the last two seasons. However, with less ballast on board at Thruxton expect Morgan to be back around the top five, the WIX Mercedes is a race winning car and in Morgan they have a race winning driver.
Cole has never had the best of luck when it comes to cars and competitiveness. He now has arguably the best chance of his career to make his mark in a factory supported Subaru team headed by Turkington and Plato, however a car fire in race one, forcing him to sit out the rest of the race weekend would have done his chances of further getting to grips with his new Levorg no good whatsoever.