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BTCC Croft report

Stephen Dobie
15 Jun 2009

Dramatic weather conditions lead to a mixed bag of racing, with Turkington now on top


The Touring Cars headed to the North East this weekend, with Croft circuit hosting round five of the 2009 season. Two races of baking summer sun were followed by a biblically wet final race. It was another highly successful round for Northern Irishman Colin Turkington, and a fantastic weekend for his Team RAC, who closed the gap on championship leaders VX Racing.

Turkington won the first two races – both of them with crushing competency from pole position – and finished sixth in race three (ahead of previous leader Matt Neal in eighth) ensuring he stormed to the top of the drivers’ standings with a lead of 25 points.

His teammate Stephen Jelley had a cracking weekend too, finishing second in the first two races and third in race three. Before this weekend he’d never stepped onto the podium, but three great drives give him the full set at Croft.

The final race was won by current champion Fabrizio Giovanardi, and a poor weekend for Matt Neal ensured his Italian foe kept up the pressure as he guns for another title.

Jason Plato is still very much in contention, too, after two podium finishes. He’s just 11 points behind Neal, who led the standings going into the weekend. However, a clash between the two – Plato tapping the rear of Neal’s car, sending him spinning in race three’s treacherous conditions – has caused controversy. Not only did it aid Turkington in shooting ahead of Neal, it helped Plato finish fifth and gain more points.

He gained points of a different kind on his racing licence as a result, though, and was officially reprimanded for ‘driving in a matter incompatible with general safety’.

Plato said ‘I simply aquaplaned into Matt going into the corner – my car was out of control as I tried braking. Then as we turned the corner there was a huge puddle and I had to hit the power to get out of it and there was a bit more contact. It wasn’t deliberate and I did try explaining to him afterwards. If it hadn't been Matt then it would have been someone else.’

It all added up to a highly exciting and varied weekend though, as BTCC heads into a summer break. The next round is at Snetterton on August 2 2009.

Croft Results

Race 1
1    Colin Turkington      BMW 320si
2    Stephen Jelley        BMW 320si
3    Jason Plato            Chevrolet Lacetti

Race 2
1    Colin Turkington    BMW 320si
2    Stephen Jelley       BMW 320si   
3    Jason Plato           Chevrolet Lacetti

Race 3
1    Fabrizio Giovanardi    Vauxhall Vectra
2    James Thompson       Honda Civic
3    Stephen Jelley           BMW 320si

Drivers’ Standings after Croft (Round 5)
01    Colin Turkington           149 points
02    Matt Neal                     124
03    Fabrizio Giovanardi       120
04    Jason Plato                   113
05    Robert Collard               98
06    James Thompson           89
07    Stephen Jelley               69
08    Andrew Jordan              63
09    Adam Jones                  54
10    Jonathan Adam             47

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