It was advantage Honda again in the day's second British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race at Thruxton, Matt Neal adding a third win to his 2011 season to extend the championship points lead he had assumed after the first contest at the Hampshire track.
Neal had started the race from second and, after holding off a brief challenge from Andrew Jordan off the start line, fell into line, following teammate and pole sitter Gordon Shedden. The Scot's earlier win had given him the maximum 45kg ballast for the second race and the weight, along with a slightly bizarre problem held the no.52 car back, unable to pull away from Neal, and finally losing the lead to a move on the inside of the sweeping right hander at Church.
Neal escaped into the lead – carrying the same amount of ballast he had hauled to second in race one – while Shedden fell back to become a cork to a bottle of chasing drivers. Jordan, his lap one attack for second repelled had maintained third. After several laps of following the Honda ahead, the Pirtek Racing drivers pushed Shedden into a mistake, out-braking himself into the first element of the club chicane.
Presented with an opportunity an unusually kerb-shy Jordan took an aggressive line – putting all four wheel of his Vectra across the kerb on the left side of the corner and giving himself a better run onto the pit 'straight' to take second place.
Shedden – he revealed after the checkered flag – had had one of the car's air jacks dragging on the track, not only limiting his speed, but also reducing any suspension travel, changing the handling on the car. Despite this Shedden held onto third, keeping Tom Chilton at bay during the closing laps, taking a defensive line to the chicane to close off the main overtaking spot on the circuit.
Behind Mat Jackson was employing similar tactics to keep James Nash behind him. The pair had been together for the entire race, Nash simply unable to pass the Airwaves Racing driver.
The two Silverline Chevrolet drivers followed in seventh and eighth, Alex MacDowall leading Jason Plato. MacDowall had gained the place at the expense of Rob Collard. The Chevrolet driver misjudged an overtaking move at the chicane, poking his front bumper tentatively down the inside, Collard moving across to take the apex being hooked into a spin, though without contact the WSR driver was able to continue, finishing 14th.
Plato, starting from eighteenth on the grid, had made easy progress up the order, helped by Tom Onslow–Cole's VW Golf not making the start after the team found a crack in the exhaust manifold after the opening race and Chris James' first retirement of his debut season with broken front suspension.
There was little sign of the perceived advantage of the turbocharged car, both fastest laps – manufacturers' and independents' going to normally aspirated machinery, MacDowall setting the overall best time of 1:19.195.
Tom Boardman finished ninth (and picked up pole position for the day's final race). However, Boardman's starring role came on lap one at Goodwood, holding the SEAT Leon in a very impressive, if not particularly quick slide, as he fell from his starting slot of fifth to tenth at the end of the opening lap. Tony Gilham rounded out the top ten.
UPDATE: Andrew Jordan was demoted to third place post-race after being deemed to have gained an unfair advantage, almost certainly for his kerb cutting line that set up his pass for second place.
BTCC Thruxton Race Two Result (Provisional)
|1||2||Matt Neal||Honda Racing Team||16 laps in 21:33.457|
|2||77||Andrew Jordan||Pirtek Racing||+2.126|
|3||52||Gordon Shedden||Honda Racing Team||+3.289|
|4||5||Tom Chilton||Team Aon||+3.694|
|5||7||Mat Jackson||Airwaves Racing||+4.749|
|6||14||James Nash||888 with Collins Contractors||+4.809|
|7||20||Alex MacDowall||Silverline Chevrolet||+5.928|
|8||1||Jason Plato||Silverline Chevrolet||+7.462|
|9||22||Tom Boardman||Special Tuning Racing||+11.196|
|10||34||Tony Gilham||888 with Collins Contractors||+11.405|
|11||29||Paul O'Neill||GomobileUK.com with tech-speed||+12.166|
|12||55||Jeff Smith||Pirtek Racing||+18.882|
|13||44||Andy Neate||Team Aon||+19.166|
|15||28||John George||GomobileUK.com with tech-speed||+35.764|
|17||66||Liam Griffin||Airwaves Racing||+56.715|
|DNF||78||Chris James||Team ES Racing||3 laps|
|DNS||99||Tom Onslow-Cole||AmD Millek Racing|
|DNS||13||Rob Austin||Rob Austin Racing|