Skip to content

BTCC Rockingham: Weekend Wrap

btcc, rockingham, btcc blog, thehairpincorner, the hairpin corner btcc, rockingham review 2018
The BTCC’s last visit to Rockingham until at least 2020 delivered another weekend of top-drawer action. Image thanks to Autocar

It just wouldn’t be British Touring Cars without edge of your seat action all day long, would it? Races 19, 20 and 21 of the 2018 BTCC season at Rockingham on Sunday delivered on every level with some stunning drives from the back of the grid, epic last lap battles and some massive consequences in the title race for an unlucky few. I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to picking out some of my standout talking points from Rockingham this weekend, but I’ve selected some of the best to analyse in my weekend wrap. Read on to discover who I thought delivered the drive of a lifetime, who might just perform a miracle this season and what drivers I think are now surely out of the title race.

Morgan Back On The Money

I used my pre-race talking points to highlight how important Rockingham could be in Adam Morgan’s season, and I’m pleased to see that the Cicely Motorsport driver enjoyed his strongest weekend of the year so far. Pole position and a dominant lights to flag victory in race one was followed up by a strong second in race two, before 8th in race three rounded out his weekend and lifted him to 6th in the driver’s standings. Morgan drove with confidence and great speed all weekend long and whilst this late-season resurgence won’t be enough to bring him into the title fight, he could well end up best of the rest behind Turkington and Ingram.

It was great to see Morgan back up at the front of the grid, somewhere where we saw this weekend that if both car and driver are on form, he clearly belongs. With Knockhill up next, Morgan will be looking to continue this upturn in pace and challenge for podiums and race wins once again.

Tom Ingram Overtaking Masterclass

Two weeks after Ingram produced a stunning drive from 27th to 3rd in race two at Snetterton the unthinkable happened, he did exactly the same again. There was a fantastic roar from the crowd in the Rockingham grandstand each time Ingram picked up another position, and lap after lap the Speedworks Motorsport driver clawed his way up to 3rd place at the checkered flag. On pure speed alone, the Speedworks Toyota Avensis is one of the, if not the fastest car on the grid and the progress both team and driver have made over the last few seasons is nothing short of incredible. Ingram’s drives at Snetterton and now Rockingham are ones that will live firmly in the memories of those who were lucky enough to witness them, a bit like Shedden’s championship charge at Brands Hatch in 2016.

Despite a disastrous DNF after a race-long battle with Turkington in race one, Ingram’s weekend finished on a more positive note with 3rd and 5th place finishes. However, he now trails Turkington by 4 points in the driver’s standings with Knockhill next on the calendar, a track where Ingram won in race three last year.

tom ingram rockingham 2018, btcc blog, thehairpincorner btcc, motorsport blog
Tom Ingram overcame a fly-by-wire problem in race one to finish 3rd in race two from 27th on the grid. Image thanks to Touringcars.net

Can Sutton Pull Off The Impossible?

After Oulton Park I said that it would take a miracle for Ash Sutton to defend his BTCC title. With just four finishes in the top ten in the first 12 races of the season, Sutton’s and Team BMR’s campaign looked to be a write-off. However, nine races later, including four 1st’s and two 2nd places have catapulted Sutton to 3rd in the championship table and 32 points off the top. The defending champion has produced a second-half turnaround even more remarkable than the Subaru’s managed in 2016 and now has a real chance at fighting for the 2018 driver’s title.

A fantastic start from 10th in the grid in race one enabled Sutton to finish in 2nd come the checkered flag. Another brilliant start in race two to jump Morgan off the line paved the way for a comfortable win in race two before a disastrous race three saw Sutton finish down in 17th. Nevertheless, it was a perhaps unexpected level of success that Sutton enjoyed this weekend, again helped by some lighting starts off the line. He finished 2nd, 1st and 4th at Knockhill last year, and will be confident of closing the gap to the top again in two weeks time.

Mr Consistnet

If there’s one driver who could sit to of the championship table despite having won just once all year its Colin Turkington. One of the BTCC’s finest operators, if there’s any driver who knows how to close out a championship its this guy, and after a weekend of 7th, 5th and 2nd place finishes the two-time champion has moved to the head of the driver’s standings. The Team BMW cars were solid yet not fast enough to win at Rockingham, and all of Turkington, Jordan and Ricky Collard struggled in qualifying. However Turkington’s experience shone through and on a weekend where many of his championship rivals faltered, he stayed out of trouble to bring the car home with solid points each race.

Knockhill has been a happy hunting ground in the past for Turkington with three podiums last year and another in 2016. We’re being treated to a fantastic battle between Turkington and Ingram for this year’s BTCC title and it’s so close to call between the two. The BMW driver should be feeling confident heading up to Scotland but once again he will be qualifying with a full load of ballast on the car.

Some Other Standout Weekends

btcc blog, chris smiely rockingham 2018, motorsport blog, btcc blog
Chris Smiley took a well-deserved victory in race three after a strong weekend. Image thanks to Autocar.

Chris Smiley, Matt Simpson, Mike Bushell and Rory Butcher were some of the surprise packages at Rockingham this weekend. Smiley added BTC Norlin’s second ever race victory to their trophy cabinet in race three after finishing 4th and 6th in races one and two. Simpson scored his second podium of the year with a 3rd in race three and both Bushell and Butcher were unlucky to miss out on a podium finish after really strong results. All four drivers performed brilliantly over the Rockingham weekend and will have high hopes of a repeat performance at Knockhill in two weeks time.

And Some Not So Standout Ones

After qualifying 9th and a good opening lap things were looking up for Jason Plato. That was until he ran wide in race one and rejoined near the back of the field. Solid driving in races two and some brilliant overtaking in race three did ensure that his eventual 11th place finish bought home some points but overall it was another disappointing weekend for a driver who has fallen away from the top of the BTCC. I don’t enjoy watching Plato battling at the back of the field, and again this weekend I was left wondering why he doesn’t seem to be able to match the speed of Sutton in the other Subaru. He’s tantalisingly close to 100 race wins, but I’m not sure he’s going to get there. I’d love to see it happen.

Neal and Goff, two of the championship contenders coming into Rockingham left with their hopes of challenging for the title looking slim, if not impossible. Neal laboured to 18th, 14th and 15th place finishes whilst Goff also struggled to 13th, 15th and 19th. Both are now 44 points off the lead and can’t afford another weekend like Rockingham if they want to challenge Turkington and Ingram.

Standout Driver: Adam Morgan for bouncing back from a tough run in style with pole position and two podiums.

Standout Moment: Tom Ingram’s sensational drive from 27th to 3rd. Again!

Most Disappointing Moment: Jason Plato not converting strong qualifying and opening lap into points.

What were your highlights of the weekend? Let me know over on Twitter or Facebook!

Driver’s Standings After Rockingham

1 Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW 220
2 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport 216
3 Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 188
4 Jack GOFF WIX Racing with Eurotech 176
5 Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing 176
6 Adam MORGAN Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport 169
7 Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher 169
8 Josh COOK Power Maxed TAG Racing 166
9 Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing 161
10 Senna PROCTOR Power Maxed TAG Racing 128*
11 Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing 129
12 Sam TORDOFF Team GardX Racing with Motorbase 128
13 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing 124
14 Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing 98
15 Rob COLLARD Team BMW 86
16 Rob AUSTIN DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing 72
17 Rory BUTCHER AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 71
18 Dan LLOYD BTC Norlin Racing 59
19 James COLE Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher 59
20 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing 58
21 Ollie JACKSON AmD with Cobra Exhausts 54
22 Mike BUSHELL Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 49
23 Brett SMITH WIX Racing with Eurotech 43
24 Tom OLIPHANT Ciceley Motorsport 38
25 Jake HILL Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 29
26 Jason PLATO Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 26
27 Bobby THOMPSON Team HARD with Trade Price Cars 23
28 Tom BOARDMAN AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 14
29 Ant WHORTON-EALES AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 6
30 James NASH BTC Norlin Racing 6
31 Stephen JELLEY Team ParkerRacing 2

Constructor’s Standings After Rockingham

1 BMW 581
2 Honda 553
3 Vauxhall 526
4 Subaru 404

Teams Standing’s After Rockingham

1 Team BMW 300
2 Halfords Yuasa Racing 298
3 Power Maxed TAG Racing 291
4 Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher 216*
5 WIX Racing with Eurotech 209
6 Speedworks Motorsport 208
7 BTC Norlin Racing 175*
8 Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport 163
9 BMW Pirtek Racing 160
10 Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 146*x5
11 Team GardX Racing with Motorbase 128
12 Simpson Racing 95
13 AmD with Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing 91
14 Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 77
15 DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing 71
16 Laser Tools Racing 57
17 AmD with Cobra Exhausts 54
18 Ciceley Motorsport 38
19 Team HARD with Trade Price Cars 23
20 Autoglym Academy Racing 0
21 Team Parker Racing -8*

Independent Driver’s Standings After Rockingham

1 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport 278
2 Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher 241
3 Jack GOFF WIX Racing with Eurotech 239
4 Adam MORGAN Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport 218
5 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing 192
6 Sam TORDOFF Team GardX Racing with Motorbase 188
7 Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing 157
8 Rob AUSTIN DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing 146
9 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing 132
10 Rory BUTCHER AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 130
11 Ollie JACKSON AmD with Cobra Exhausts 119
12 James COLE Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher 109
13 Tom OLIPHANT Ciceley Motorsport 110
14 Daniel LLOYD BTC Norlin Racing 99
15 Mike BUSHELL Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 91
16 Brett SMITH WIX Racing with Eurotech 85
17 Jake HILL Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 64
18 Bobby THOMPSON Team HARD with Trade Price Cars 58
19 Stephen JELLEY Team ParkerRacing 54
20 Tom BOARDMAN AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 49
21 James NASH BTC Norlin Racing 26
22 Ant WHORTON-EALES AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 25
23 Sam SMELT AmD with Cobra Exhausts 19
24 Michael CAINE Team HARD with Trade Price Cars 18
25 Dan WELCH Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 9
26 Glynn GEDDIE AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing 3
27 Dan WELCH Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 1

Independent Teams Standings After Rockingham

1 Speedworks Motorsport 284
2 WIX Racing with Eurotech 269
3 Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher 259*
4 BTC Norlin Racing 253*
5 Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport 229
6 Team GardX Racing with Motorbase 196
7 AmD with Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing 190
8 Simpson Racing 167
9 Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing 162
10 DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing 155
11 AmD with Cobra Exhausts 151
12 Laser Tools Racing 146
13 Ciceley Motorsport 127
14 Team HARD with Trade Price Cars 103
15 Team Parker Racing 75*
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: