The penultimate weekend of the BTCC season was another which delivered on every level. Races 25, 26 and 27 of the season at Silverstone were action packed, nail biting and at times, championship defining and the series heads to Brands Hatch in two weeks time with the championship battle still on.
With a 34 point advantage at the head of the table, Colin Turkington is almost two race wins ahead on points with just three left to go. As Tom Ingram sits in a relatively distant 2nd, and then a quartet of Chilton, Sutton, Morgan and Cook locked in a fierce battle for 3rd there is still plenty to play for in this year’s BTCC. I’ve given my assesment of some of the weekend’s biggest talking points in my Silverstone Weekend Wrap.
Turkington Shows Championship Credentials
It’s actually hard to believe that Colin Turkington has won just one race all season, race two at Oulton Park. In a championship which rewards consistency, Turkington has enjoyed a remarkable campaign and his title credentials were once again on show on Sunday as he kept his cool in the heat of some intense on-track battles. Race finishes of 8th, 8th and 3rd in Sunday’s three races kept him at the head of the championship table, and he is now surely the clear favourite for the title heading into Brands Hatch GP.
Turkington’s performance over the course of this season has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I can’t remember the last time the championship was won by displaying such incredible consistency. The events of last October at Brands Hatch may still be in his mind, but the BMW does go well around the GP circuit and Turkington’s experience at seeing out a championship campaign will be crucial once again. He doesn’t need to win any of the races at Brands Hatch to secure the title, he just needs more of the same.
Ingram In Hot Pursuit
Ballast-free, the Speedwords Toyota is just mesmerisingly fast. We’ve been treated to some epic drives from Ingram this year such as driving from 27th – 3rd on the grid at both Snetterton and Rockingham. Race two at Silverstone on Sunday was in the same league. Ingram’s victory from 14th on the grid was brilliant, and the way he carved through the field and overtook car after car at Becckets had all the hallmarks of a future BTCC champion.
A one-car team, Speedworks have steadily progressed with the Toyota Avensis and its now at the point where ballast-free, I think its the fastest car on the grid. Ingram leads the Independent drivers standings by 20 points from Tom Chilton and a strong weekend at Brands Hatch will be imporant to winning that championship. It might not be this year, but I’m confident that at some point in the future Ingram will be an outright BTCC champion. He won at Brands Hatch Indy back at the start of the year, and remains a serious threat to Turkington’s title ambitions should the Team BMW driver slip up.
Tordoff Breaks His Duck
I don’t think you would find many people who disagree with the opinion that Motorbase have been the unluckiest team this season, and Sam Tordoff, the unluckiest driver. Silverstone marked a welcome return to the top step of the podium for Tordoff, somewhere he hadn’t been since Rockingham 2016, before his year away in GT racing. The 2016 runner-up has finished in 4th place seven times this season but Silvestone marked a first visit to the podium in race one, and then Tordoff followed it up with a 3rd place in race two.
Tordoff kept his cool when some other drivers may have faltered in race one when being cloesly followed by teammate Tom Chilton all the way to the line, before falling prey to the fast-charging Ingram and Adam Morgan in race two and finishing 3rd. Like a number of other drivers, the hard tyres in race three weren’t kind to him and he fell to finish 14th at the flag. Nevertheless, Silverstone was Tordoff’s best weekend of the season so far, and confidence will be high going into the final races of the season. In a year where he has been incredibly unlucky, Tordoff can finish the season safe in the knowlege that both the car and himself are still fast, and if Motorbase can iron out the reliability problems in their Focus, they can be a serious threat for the title in 2019.
Six-Way Battle For 3rd In The Table
The battle to finish 3rd in the championship table is as close as you can get, with six drivers covered by just 21 points. From Chilton in 3rd on 236 points, to Jack Goff in 8th on 215 points, all six drivers will head to the final three races of the season with their sights firmly set on 3rd. Josh Cook enjoyed a fantastic turnaround to his Silverstone weekend, climbing from a DNF in race one, and back of the grid start for race two to 12th at the flag, before finishing 4th in race three. After a great start to the year, Cook and Vauxhall had a tough midseason where they fell out of championship contention. However, a welcome return to the podium at Knockhill and a great recovery at Silverstone are signs that the team and car are still moving in the right direction and Cook will be a threat at Brands.
Ash Sutton’s weekend didn’t go to plan, and a tough qualifying was followed up by pit lane start for race two, before he bought the Subaru Levorg home in 12th place in race three. After having arrived a Silverstone with only an outside chance of retaining his title, Suttons’ title defence is all but over for this year. That being said, his performances since Croft have been phenomenal and no driver has won more races since June. Unfortunately Team BMR’s slow start to the season hampered Sutton’s chances this year and unlike last season where they got away with it, this season won’t be the same.
Chilton and Morgan both enjoyed strong weekends at Silverstone, and in the battle for 3rd are the two drivers most in form. It was a tough weekend for Andrew Jordan and Jack Goff who fell to the bottom of the mini table of drivers fighting for 3rd, but both showed good speed at Brands Hatch Indy earlier in the year and will be keen to end the year with some more silverware.
Standout Moment – Ingram’s charge to victory in race two, or Sam Tordoff taking a long awaited race win in race one.
Standout Driver – Colin Turkington, yet again showing his class with remarkable consistency.
Biggest Dissapointment – Ash Sutton not making the gird for race two.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Silverstone weekend. Let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook!
Drivers Top Ten Standings After Silverstone
|1||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||300|
|2||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||266|
|3||Tom CHILTON||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher||236|
|4||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||227|
|5||Adam MORGAN||Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport||227|
|6||Josh COOK||Power Maxed TAG Racing||222|
|7||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||217|
|8||Jack GOFF||WIX Racing with Eurotech||215|
|9||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||188|
|10||Sam TORDOFF||Team GardX Racing with Motorbase||184|