Mat Jackson took a third victory for Motorbase Performance in the first race of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s final meeting of 2015, while Gordon Shedden inched ever closer to the title.
The opening lap saw zero drama at the head of the field as Jackson held onto his pole position ahead of Aron Smith and Adam Morgan, but behind it was contact between the two championship contenders that made the early headlines.
Colin Turkington moved ahead of series leader Shedden in the opening corners, before tensions simmered when Jason Plato – 23 points adrift of the Honda driver – nudged Shedden wide with a tap up the rear into Surtees.
A safety car intervened briefly after just one lap, Alex Martin‘s Dextra Racing Ford Focus spinning hard into the barriers exiting Hawthorn Bend in the pack while Dave Newsham‘s Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze didn’t make it that far with a trip into the gravel.
Jackson made a break once again but only briefly as the safety car made its second appearance of the race on lap six, this time to remove the beached Toyota Avensis of Stewart Lines from Surtees gravel trap.
After the lengthy delay, it was a simple lights-to-flag third victory of the season for Jackson and Motorbase, beating the first Team BMR Volkswagen CC of Smith and the Mercedes of Morgan who rounded out the podium.
Behind them, the trio of championship contenders were next up in reverse order, Turkington’s BMR Volkswagen ahead of Plato who clawed back just a single point in the title hunt – now 22 behind the Scot.
Matt Neal played a solid backup role for his Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate, tailing him for the remainder of the race in seventh place and keeping the West Surrey Racing BMW of Andy Priaulx out of striking distance while Josh Cook (Chevrolet) and Rob Collard (BMW) rounded out the top 10.
Both Triple Eight MGs started form the pitlane, Jack Goff only managing a recovery to 20th while Andrew Jordan finished one spot ahead of him, the latter now out of the championship hunt.
The grid for the second race of the day sees Plato and Turkington handed more of an opportunity to close in on their main rival, Plato starting eighth ahead of ninth-placed Turkington, while Shedden starts just 14th.
Should Shedden hold a lead of 23 points after the second race of the day, the Scot would become BTCC champion for a second time.
Race two gets underway at 14:22, and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.
Race Two Grid:
- Mat Jackson
- Aron Smith
- Adam Morgan
- Dave Newsham
- Tom Ingram
- Jack Goff
- Andy Priaulx
- Jason Plato
- Colin Turkington
- Jeff Smith
14. Gordon Shedden