So, another British Touring Car round done and what a tale of two stories for the main title contenders going into the weekend. On the one hand, Andrew Jordan wowed HiQ with his dominant wins both in race one and three taking the championship lead for the first time since Brands Hatch. Matt Neal on the other hand, had a bad day at the office! A spin in race one, retirement in race two and starting at the back of the grid for race three completed the day of disappointment for the veteran.
Although it was not the ideal race weekend for Honda and Matt Neal, they may not end up empty handed at the end of the season. The up and down race weekend saw them increase their lead in the HiQ Teams Championship to 110 points from MG KX Momentum which should be an unassailable lead with only two rounds left.
Rockingham confirmed, unfortunately, that the summer is finally over with low temperatures and showers on and off all day, it made racing slippery for everyone on track.
Race one saw the conditions make an impact on the racing with the majority of drivers running the Sport BluResponse tyres, Dunlop’s specific wet weather tyre for the championship. Jordan took the lead after a blistering start and frantic first lap, fighting off the challenges of second place Mat Jackson and third place Rob Austin to clinch his first win in the wet.
Race Two saw arguably the most popular result of the day with fans favourite Rob Austin taking his maiden British Touring Car Championship victory and boy did he deserve it! Starting from third on the grid Rob shot passed everyone to take the lead going into the first corner and didn’t look back. Gordon Shedden was the only one who threatened to get close enough to challenge but never really looked like he had the out and out pace needed to pass the dictating Wix Racing Audi A4 while Colin Turkington finished third. Meanwhile Matt Neal endured a tough time retiring from the race on lap 10 and seeing Gordon Shedden overtake him in the title race.
The final race of the day and yet another race win for Andrew Jordan, he made it look easy leading from lights to flag staying well clear of the scrapping for position behind him. A dramatic opening lap that saw no fewer than four cars involved in a high speed incident, Rob Collard's BMW and Jeff Smith's Honda coming off the worst hitting the barrier at some force. Turkington and Jason Plato rounded off the final podium places of the day.
Final congratulations of the day goes to Lea Wood in the S2000 class as he took a commanding race victory, his 13th of the season which awarded him the Jack Sears Trophy with still six races remaining. Congrats Lea Wood!!
As the BTCC roles on to Silverstone, how about a little bit of food for thought? A year ago at Rockingham a Honda Driver by the name of Gordon Shedden made the championship lead his by taking two wins at a wet Rockingham, he never lost the championship lead again that season. Could we be witnessing history repeat itself for a young Andrew Jordan? Only time will tell.