The BTCC’s second visit to Thruxton provided all the usuals thrills and spills we’ve come to expect of the UK’s fastest race track, but as the checkered flag fell after a rain-soaked final few laps of race three, Colin Turkington’s advantage at the top of the championship standings remained more or less intact. It was a weekend to savour for Honda at Thruxton as between the three Honda Civic teams on the grid, the marque scored a hattrick of victories. I’ve given my thoughts on all the biggest talking points from the Thruxton weekend in my Weekend Wrap.
Turkington and Jordan Hurt By Qualifying Weight
After the stunning opening exchanges of 2019, the last two rounds at Snetterton and Thruxton have seen the title-leading WSR BMWs enjoy a lesser advantage over the chasing pack. Whilst Snetterton did see Turkington take victory and Jordan finish on the podium, the championship challenging duo struggled for overall car speed on their second visit to Thruxton with ballast hampering their weekend from the outset. Turkington qualified in 11th with Jordan just behind in 13th, and the pair’s highest placed finish came courtesy of Jordan’s 7th place in race two. It was a long way from Jordan’s Thruxton double earlier in the season and will serve as a reminder to WSR that although the BMW 3 Series has been the car to beat for much of 2019, there are times when the pendulum will swing away from them. It’s those times that if you’re not careful, a points cushion can evaporate in an instant.
Even on a tough weekend for the team, it was critical for Andrew Jordan to heavily outscore Turkington to make progress on his championship lead but it was something that he failed to do. The gap at the top of table shrunk by six points to 30, and it’s a gap which Turkington will be pleased to leave Thruxton with. Knockhill up next is going to be a challenge with the same issues of a heavy car in qualifying bound to affect both cars once again. Both Turkington and Jordan were stuck in the rough and tumble of the midpack at Thruxton, and it’s a group of cars which is always so tough to get out of during the race. However, there’s one major difference now, and that’s the form of third-place man in the standings, Dan Cammish.
Dan Cammish Climbing
From a lowly championship placing at the end of Donington Park, Dan Cammish has slowly climbed his way up the table in the rounds since and took his first win of 2019 fantastically in the pouring rain of race three. A benefactor of the reverse grid draw, Cammish raced brilliantly all weekend finishing 2nd in race one and 5th in race two after qualifying 3rd on Saturday. His solid results at Thruxton have seen him leapfrog Josh Cook and Rory Butcher into 3rd place in the championship and crucially, he’s just four points behind Andrew Jordan and 34 behind Turkington.
It’s still a big gap to overcome, especially when the man you are chasing down is a triple BTCC champion but Cammish will be confident of continuing his run of form which has seen him finish on the podium at every round since Thruxton in May. With Porsche Carrera Cup GB championships to his name, there’s no doubt that Cammish knows what it takes to win titles and he’s pushed on from what was already a solid debut year in 2018. Anyone within 20 points of Turkington going into the final three races at Brands Hatch must be considered a serious title challenger and whilst Cammish has work to do to close the gap, the BTCC’s form man looks every bit capable of doing so. He’ll be one to watch at Knockhill but must qualify well and up at the head of the field.
Honda’s Thruxton Hatrick
Whilst Cammish was the driver who moved to third in the standings post-Thruxton, the whole of Sunday was a decidedly Honda Civic affair with the car winning all three races. Sam Tordoff converted a brilliant pole position into a win in race one before Josh Cook continued his great run of form at Thruxton by winning in race two. Cammish then converted in race three. The strong results mean that the Honda teams are positioned 1st (Team Dynamics), 3rd (AmD Tuning) and 4th (BTC Racing) in the team’s standings with Team Dynamics/Honda now just 27 points behind BMW in the constructor’s standings.
Thruxton has always been a circuit where the Honda Civic has been strong, and it was fitting that both the FK2 and FK8 shapes won on Sunday. Tordoff’s victory in race one marked his first win since Silverstone 2018 and his 10th and 11th place finishes in races two and three have helped him back into the championship’s top ten on 147 points. For a driver who, through largely no fault of his own has struggled for consistency so much in the last two years, Tordoff has now had three good rounds in a row and will be targeting more race wins and podiums before the year is out.
After tough rounds at Oulton Park and Snetterton which where both triggered by qualifying well down the grid, Josh Cook’s return to the front of qualifying with a 5th place on Saturday paved the way for 4th, 1st and 6th place finishes on Sunday, results which have helped him to strengthen his grip on 4th place in the standings. With Rory Butcher the only Honda Civic driver to have a tough Thruxton weekend, Cook now has a 23 point margin over the AmD Tuning driver and is within eight points of 2nd place man Jordan. Another to watch over the next few rounds, Thruxton was seemingly the end of Cook’s midseason slump and I’m excited to see him right back in the thick of it as the title race steams towards the end of the season.
Adam Morgan Returns To The Front
I can’t remember such a staggering turnaround of fortunes from one race weekend to another, and whilst a top-five position in the championship is certainly now out of reach, Morgan’s reappearance at the head of the field adds a fascinating dynamic to the final nine races of the season. With no ballast in the car for Knockhill qualifying, Morgan will be confident of running up at the front again and he’s now a driver who I’m backing to win at least once race before the season is out. Based on his Thruxton form, a top ten could well be possible.
So often seen running at the front of the field, Adam Morgan in the Cicely Motorsport Mercedes A-Class had been a notable absentee for much of 2019 as Morgan struggled with car set up and came into Thruxton 17th in the championship. However following an engineering shakeup, Morgan was a different man at Thruxton and a 4th place in qualifying followed up with 3rd, 2nd and 4th place finishes on Sunday mean that Morgan has climbed to 14th place in the table.
What were your thoughts on The Thruxton weekend? Who starred and who didn’t? Let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook.
Championship Top Ten After Thruxton
|1||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||249|
|2||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||219|
|3||Dan CAMMISH||Halfords Yuasa Racing||215|
|4||Josh COOK||BTC Racing||211|
|5||Rory BUTCHER||Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance||188|
|6||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||179|
|7||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||168|
|8||Tom INGRAM||Team Toyota GB with Ginsters||165|
|9||Sam TORDOFF||Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance||147|
|10||Jason PLATO||Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing||143|