Trio of New 2014 BTCC Winners at Knockhill!
The biggest crowd at Knockhill in 15 years witnessed three titanic Owen's boosted Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship battles as a trio of drivers took their first wins of the season.
Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal fended off the attentions of front-row starter Rob Austin and home hero Gordon Shedden to claim the honours in the opening contest. An action-packed 27 laps of racing included myriad of incidents and overtakes throughout the order, but it was the most experienced driver on the grid who managed to keep out of trouble to win his first race for more than a year and a first in the Honda Civic Tourer model.
Mat Jackson took the 20th BTCC victory of his career and the first in nearly two years with a flawless performance in the next bout. The Airwaves Racing driver made a clean getaway when the Honda duo of Neal and Shedden ran into trouble. Neal was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start while Shedden dropped to the rear of the field after early contact with Austin. MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato eventually took second ahead of the recovering Austin.
Race three provided the third different winner of the day, which also completed a hat-trick of victories for the Dunlop Sport Maxx soft compound for the first time in BTCC history. Pole-sitter Nick Foster produced a good start but he was soon under pressure from his eBay Motors team-mate Rob Collard who had made his way from sixth to second in the early stages. Collard eventually edged his way past and never looked back – taking his first victory since 2012 at the same venue – but there was a frantic scramble behind for the final podium positions. It was to be an emotional rostrum for Dave Newsham and the first ever for his AmDTuning.com team as the Inverness-based driver hauled his Ford Focus into second, defending well from the BMWs of Turkington and Foster.
Turkington’s own podium capped a remarkable turnaround for the Ulsterman after his day had got off to the worst possible start. Contact with a combination of Plato and Jackson forced him into the gravel and out of race one, but the 2009 champion produced a sensational drive in the second encounter. Starting at the back of the grid Turkington had scythed his way up to fourth by the finish, producing pass after pass in the flying BMW 125i M Sport. He went one better in the final showdown to ensure that he left the Scottish circuit with the same 23-point advantage that he’d arrived with.
Shedden maintains second in the standings whilst Plato closed the gap in the chase for the championship. Collard is up to fourth; ahead of reigning champion Andrew Jordan and race two winner Jackson, although all three can only be considered outsiders for the title.
To demonstrate the quite staggering racing on show at Knockhill, the total of nine podium positions on offer over the course of the weekend were filled by an unprecedented eight different drivers…