Turkington extends lead as British Touring Cars thrill Snetterton fans
- Credit: Archant
As the BMW 330-mounted Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan fought over the British Touring Car Championship lead throughout the day it will be the third race which will live long in the memory of the large Snetterton crowd.
Victory in the second race, after claiming fourth place in the opening encounter, aided Turkington in extending his lead to 36 points over his team-mate, whose sixth place in race three was the only time he finished ahead of the series leader.
However, it was a scintillating lead battle in race three which had the Snetterton crowd on its feet. For many laps, veteran racer Jason Plato was under intense pressure from his former team-mate Ashley Sutton, with the pair side by side for half a lap at half distance before Plato was able to repel the young pretender.
Meanwhile, Rory Butcher was closing in on the top two and drew alongside the battling pair on the Bentley Straight to go three abreast into the Esses Complex and with Plato and Sutton clashing, the Scottish racer came out in a lead he held to the finish.
Josh Cook, like Butcher, carved through the field to take second while Chris Smiley held on to third having started on pole.
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The mid-summer break worked wonders for Tom Ingram, who was able to snatch his first pole with the new Toyota Corolla and was able to convert it into his second victory of the season. "Well happy with that," he said.
Honda Civic racer Dan Cammish kept the winner honest throughout while Sam Tordoff, also Civic mounted, inherited third place when Tom Chilton's Ford Focus crashed out at Coram with a puncture. Following the top three across the finish line were the title challengers, with Turkington ahead of Jordan who had to muscle his way by Plato.
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Ingram held off the snarling pack until half distance of race two with fast-starting Turkington finding a small gap in the race one winner's defences at Wilson Hairpin and continued untroubled for his fifth victory of the season.
As Ingram faded, with a turbo problem, Cammish had Jordan all over his rear bumper like a rash but, despite the best efforts of the BMW man, he could not displace the Honda pilot from second place.
Former Attleborough resident Olly Jackson backed up his solid eighth place from race one with a tremendous fourth which secured him the Independents winner's trophy.
After a difficult opening two races, locally-based EXCELR8 Motorsport British Touring Car team claimed its first ever championship point when Sam Osborne finished in 15th place in race three at Snetterton.
"It's an incredible moment," said tearful team principal Justina Williams. "You can't believe how hard this championship is."
It was a miserable opening encounter with Osborne and Rob Smith battling hard to stop the MG6s from propping up the field with the former ending up 24th with his team-mate, trailing bodywork for several laps, two places further back.
Race two proved no easier, with Smith retiring early after becoming mixed up in a melee at Palmers, while Osbourn rotated late race defending his position from Nic Hamilton, ironically at the corner named after his brother Lewis.
Osborne had the soft tyres fitted for the final encounter and made good use of them to grab that last vital point. "Unbelievable," was his response as Smith ended up four places behind.
Ginetta Junior series leader James Hedley survived a bruising opening race at the home track of the Shipdham-based Elite Motorsport to secure sixth place.
Race one winner Will Martin beat Hedley to the opening corner to snatch the lead of race two and withstood race long pressure from his rival to take his fifth straight series victory.
Hedley, starting race three from 17th place, tore through the field to claim the final podium place while title rival Martin ended up fifth as Zak O'Sullivan took victory which he repeated in the final race as Hedley followed him home.
Sebastian Alvarez steadily pulled away from the rest of the British F4 field to take a comfortable victory as the series-leading Zane Maloney had to settle for third place.
Race two wasn't kind to Maloney who retired mid-race after a clash at Murrays but it was Tommy Foster who took the victory while Alvarez book-ended the weekend with a second commanding victory as Maloney salvaged fourth place.
John Hislop and Nick Halstead were involved in a nasty looking race stopping incident in the opening Ginetta GTS race in which Scott McKenna went on to take victory while race two was settled on the final lap at the Esses Complex with Geri Nicosia taking victory away from Josh Malin.