BTCC 2015: Round 2 – Donington Park
4th April 2015, 23:21 at 11:21 pm #295919
So, the BTCC has kicked off at Brands Hatch for 2015. Tom Ingram shocked everyone by going quickest in FP1, but normal service was resumed in FP2 as Champion Turkington topped the times. He couldn’t replicate that in Qualifying however, as BTCC-returnee Andy Priaulx (having not driven in the series since 2002) nailed pole position. Aron Smith will share the front row with him, having beaten both Champion teammates in Jason Plato and Colin Turkington. Jack Goff also beat his new Champion teammate Andrew Jordan by going 6th to Jordan’s 10th.5th April 2015, 11:09 at 11:09 am #295934
Lots to like about the BTCC this year: great to see Priaulx looking quick from the go, the BMR line-up is fascinating, Honda have got a proper car. Might not get to see all of the races live today but will definitely catch up when I can.5th April 2015, 17:07 at 5:07 pm #295936
Heard there was a photo finish between Gordon Shedden and Andy Priaulx in race two – some 0.04s separating them at the line. It would be awesome if there would be a video about it around…
I’ll do watch race three, just having that sinking feeling that the best bit of the weekend – and quite possibly one of the highlight moments of the whole season – is already behind us.5th April 2015, 17:59 at 5:59 pm #295937
Can’t quite explain my frustration with those silly ‘reaction’ shots. They’re OK in the last few laps of a big race, but what felt like every other lap was ridiculous5th April 2015, 18:07 at 6:07 pm #295938
Well, race three was rather tense – not a firework, like race two must have been, but tense.
I’m loving how the current silhouette car rules package created a reasonably level playing field, like, at first sight it would seem that there’s all kinds of marquees up there, Hondas, MGs, VWs, Audis, Mercedeses, BMWs and so on. The fact that Matt Neal now leads the championship with one 1st place and two 8th-place finishes is a testament to how varied the pecking order became at Brands today.
Still, I feel like the VWs quickly, if silently, became the class of the field, it’s just that the congested chaos of the Indy circuit concealed much of that.
I mean the VWs took 2nd, 3rd and 5th in race one, Plato crashed out of the lead in race two, Aron Smith crashed out as well, and the remaining car of Turkington got 3rd. In race three, both Plato and Turkington got shuffled back at the start and Aron Smith made light work of the field to grab another fine 3rd for the car.
That’s the definiton of underachieving. And I haven’t even mentioned that Indy always favoured RWDs more (ehm, BMWs, I’m talking about you) and the VW also seems to have a longer wheelbase than the rest. All these factors should probably result in a VW washout at the sweeping Donington Park track with a VW-Honda fight a distant possibility.
I’m a bit sad Alain Menu couldn’t hold on for the seat for one year longer. He did a Schumacher 2010-12 at VW last season.5th April 2015, 18:35 at 6:35 pm #295955
@atticus-2 – I’d be surprised if Plato didn’t get pole, race one win, and race two pole at the very least in Donington. He heads there 13th in the Championship with no ballast at all. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he won race 2 (seeing as how quick the VW was with weight today) and possibly did a clean sweep winning race three as well, depending on the reverse grid.5th April 2015, 18:40 at 6:40 pm #295957
I watched races 1 and 2, but had to go out before race 3 so I don’t know if they elaborated but was there a reason Plato went off? I find it hard to believe that he would make such a seemingly rookie mistake when he had such a big lead and should have been in cruise control. Tim Harvey mentioned the possibility of a puncture, and there was debris on the track around Paddock and Druids. Can anyone confirm?
I think Plato is clear favourite for the title after today’s performance of the VW, even after his bad luck today in Race 2 meant he lost a lot of points. Turkington does not have his experience driving FWD cars, but he should run him close. The Honda will improve and Shedden is a great driver, but will it be consistently quick everywhere, which is what you need to win titles? Looking forward to the rest of the season.5th April 2015, 18:42 at 6:42 pm #295958
@debaser91 – It was indeed a puncture. But then, Plato making a mistake wouldn’t be a surprise. After all, he’s sort of the Alonso of the BTCC, and if McLaren are to be believed, Alonso made a silly rookie error…5th April 2015, 18:46 at 6:46 pm #295959
@atticus Race 2 was interesting because Priaulx and Shedden were fighting for 2nd place with about five laps left, Priaulx overtook him but then Shedden got him back immediately. But then Plato went off and all of a sudden they were fighting for the lead instead! Turkington was very close behind as well, but he didn’t really get involved in the fight properly. Shedden had it under control going into the last lap, but then he got blocked a bit by traffic going through Graham Hill Bend and Surtees and he left a small gap into Clearways that Priaulx went for. They were saying in commentary that the BMW had been the slowest car through the speed trap all weekend, which cost Priaulx here as Shedden managed to outdrag him to the line. It was certainly a very enjoyable race to watch.5th April 2015, 18:50 at 6:50 pm #295960
Plato had a four second lead in Race 2, and he was absolutely cruising. It would have been inexplicable for him to make a mistake, and it looked like a puncture at the time because he turned in and the car just went wide and understeered off the track like there was no grip. His pace was really impressive before that, he was the quickest driver on track with 57kg of ballast on board, seems ominous for the rest of the season.5th April 2015, 18:56 at 6:56 pm #295961
I wonder how much of a run Turkington would give Plato. Plato is one of the all-time bests of BTCC, but I’d argue he’s a touch past his best by now (although I may be wrong), whereas – as you guys said – Turkington will have to get more comfortable with the FWD to extract the maximum from himself.5th April 2015, 23:05 at 11:05 pm #295988
Here you go – one for the From the forum section of the round-up.
The decisive action starts at around the 3:15-minute mark.
Exhilirating stuff, a proper drag race.19th April 2015, 11:26 at 11:26 am #297131
So, rather than set up a new topic I thought I’d just use this one for each round and change the title. Turkington took a stunning pole ahead of Gordon Shedden and a ballast free Jason Plato, who dominated free practice. Joint Championship leaders Matt Neal & Jack Goff line up 7th & 13th respectively, and race one is about to get under way!19th April 2015, 17:59 at 5:59 pm #297141
race 3 was incredible!20th April 2015, 12:35 at 12:35 pm #297243
Race three was absolutely fantastic. A great advert for the BTCC with one of the best races I’ve seen in a while. Shame it ended on a sour note however, with Andrew Jordan protesting the stewards findings that Matt Neal did nothing wrong, and as a result the result will remaing provisional for three more weeks.
Now, in my honest opinion – despite being a fan of Neal – what he did was a bit cheeky/naughty. But was it really any worse than what Shedden did to Turkington last year? No, and he wasn’t penalised, so let bygones be bygones and just give him a tap back in a future race I say.
They should keep track of that, ie:
Andrew Jordan owes Matt Neal one slight tap.
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