Silverstone BTCC Race Two: More Hocus Pocus By Focuses

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For the second race running Tom Onslow-Cole appeared to be made to give up a near certain win to allow Tom Chilton to win as the Team Aon Fords once more conspired at the head of the BTCC field at Silverstone. It should be noted, however, the official line from the first race was a gearbox problem for Onslow-Cole.

He had taken the lead from second on grid, passing Chilton in the opening corners before he appeared to stamp his authority on the race, pulling out a lead of more than a second over his teammate as the LPG fuelled cars eluded their chasers.

The race appeared to have already been decided when on lap 17, in almost a carbon copy of the manoeuvre in the first race, Onslow-Cole dutifully moved aside to allow Chilton to take the victory – the team apparently more concerned with keeping Chilton happy than nurturing Onlsow-Cole's ever dwindling title hopes – though second place was still enough to him take third in points away from Gordon Shedden.

Just as in race one Arena's on-track choreography let the driver running in third back into a fight he should never have played a part in.

In race one Jason Plato failed to take advantage, in race two there could be little to doubt Rob Collard's determination to upset the Focuses.

Suddenly presented with Onlsow-Cole ahead of him Collard set about getting by, or through, the Ford. A tap from the BMW forced the Focus sideways on the exit of and a second exchange of paint at Luffield let Collard through, though it looked likely for second that both cars would end their races in the gravel trap at the corner. However, as if evidence were needed of any advantage for the Aon car Onslow-Cole retook the place on the following lap before, just as in the first race, speeding up to the rear bumper of Chilton.

Collard's final assault was saved for the complex on the final lap. An ambitious move down the inside at Brooklands was enough to put Onslow-Cole off his stride, and contact at Luffield again sealed the move, Collard's slice across the nose of the Ford the final clincher, negating any straight line speed advantage on the drag to the checkered flag.

Championship rivals Jason Plato and Matt Neal finished fourth and fifth, Neal again having an action packed race in a battle with Paul O'Neill's Honda Integra. Neal had made it past at Becketts, assisted by another run onto the far reaches of the Copse run-off, before he tried to pass Plato for fourth and to cut into his points deficit.

However, so bothered was Neal with Plato that he allowed O'Neill to sneak onto his inside through the kink of Woodcote before taking the place.

Their battle too, would not be settled until Luffield on the final lap, Neal using just enough force with the front bumper to nerf O'Neill from the racing line, Neal taking fifth, though Gordon Shedden in the second Honda Civic was left in seventh ahead of Steven Kane, Alex MacDowall and Mat Jackson.

Jackson's point came as some reward for a recovery drive. Having started thirteenth after his race one excusion he was spun at the first corner as WSR driver Andy Neate tried an impossible line around Copse having be forced against the pit wall.

Neate was forced to retire at the end of the first lap. The race was also disappointing for the two NGTC Vectras. Dave Pinkney suffered a not one, not two, but three recurrences of his race one problem while Andrew Jordan, who had snatched third off the line, diving between the two Chevrolets, pitted with a puncture on lap ten, rejoining only to finish 17th.

Paul O'Neill, as some consolation for losing fifth, will start the day's third and final race from pole by virtue to the reverse grid draw.

1 No.23 Tom Chilton – 22 laps in 22:44.416
2 No.6 Rob Collard – +1.104
3 No.21 Tom Onslow-Cole – +1.223
4 No.2 Jason Plato – +2.464
5 No.4 Matt Neal – +3.117
6 No.29 Paul O'Neill – +3.187
7 No.52 Gordon Shedden – +3.289
8 No.11 Steven Kane – +3.895
9 No.20 Alex MacDowall – +4.287
10 No.5 Mat Jackson – +8.542

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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