The second race of the day at Snetterton proved to be one of the most entertaining British Touring Car Championship encouters of recent times, won by Andrew Jordan who forced his way through the field for his third win of the year.
The Eurotech Honda driver made his way through the field from fifth on the grid on the softer tyre compound up to second place, benefitting from the retirement of Jason Plato from the front before elbowing his way by Colin Turkington to claim a lead he would not surrender.
The race started not as well for pole-sitter Sam Tordoff after claiming the day’s opening race, slipping to third behind team-mate Plato and the fast-starting eBay Motors BMW of Turkington, the Irishman splitting the MGs heading through Montreal hairpin for the first time around the 2.99-mile track.
Plato built up a 1.1s lead on the opening lap but that was quickly wiped out by a safety car period to remove Liam Griffin‘s Ford from the Riches gravel trap, the Addison Lee Motorbase driver victim of a three-wide fight into the first bend with James Kaye and David Nye.
Upon the restart, Plato tried to make his break, but it did not last long as a sudden problem left the double champion’s KX Momentum Racing MG6 with no drive heading into the Bombhole on lap five of 14, Turkington grabbing the race lead while – after swapping places on three occassions that lap – Jordan made a bold move stick on Gordon Shedden for third after slight contact with the Scot’s similar Honda Civic into Oggies.
Plato was forced into retirement, while the contact with Jordan meant Shedden slipped back to seventh behind team-mate Matt Neal who enjoyed a much more encouraging race as he evaded the carnage, the Honda pair chasing the two Airwaves Racing Fords also having a race to remember in their tricky 2013 season so far.
Turkington at the front soon became a mobile chicane for the opposition, Tordoff slipping back to third behind the late-braking Jordan into Agostini hairpin before having the first of three offs. The first promoted Aron Smith to third, Neal meanhile lunging past Mat Jackson around the outside of the Ford heading through Brundles, Shedden following him by into the Bombhole right-hander.
Turkington by now had the lead of a swarming eight-car train of BTCC machinery, where he used all of his defensive tricks to keep the Honda of Jordan behind him.
Jordan finally made his attack stick on lap 11 when he eased alongside the BMW heading into Williams, Turkington trying to squeeze his rival who was not having any of it as he nudged the eBay Motors car aside, Turkington losing out several spots which left Smith in second place fighting off championship leader Neal over the final two podium spots.
In the melee from Jordan’s lead-changing pass, Rob Collard suffered rear suspension damage after contact into the following complex, sending him spinning into retirement at the Bombhole. Tordoff inherited ground back through all this, but two further offs at Nelson’s and Montreal ended his chances with suspected brake issues.
Jordan was untroubled from then as he controlled the last three laps on his way to a third win of his 2013 season, while Neal brilliantly limited the damage to his championship lead by making a brave late move on Smith around the outside at the Montreal hairpin for second place, Smith claiming Motorbase‘s long-awaited first rostrum visit of the year.
Fourth went the way of the second Airwaves Ford of Jackson, Adam Morgan surviving a wild excursion at Riches earlier in the race to finish fifth ahead of the recovering Turkington and Shedden, Morgan avoiding a pile-up following his off which featured Rob Austin, Jeff Smith and Ollie Jackson at Montreal.
Dave Newsham, Tom Onslow-Cole and Frank Wrathall also gained from the mayhem ahead of them, last year’s pole-sitter Wrathall the biggest mover of all having started from the back of the grid.
The biggest losers proved to be MG, Plato’s non-finish dropping him behind Shedden and Turkington to fifth in the points and 42 adrift of Neal at the head of the championship table, Neal now just 10 points ahead of fellow Honda driver Jordan.
Lea Wood again claimed the Jack Sears Trophy honours in 13th place overall, the Vauxhall driver having dominated the weekend so far even with the problems for his nearest championship rival Griffin having scuppered their battle somewhat.
The reverse-grid draw saw number eight pulled out after the race, meaning that Newsham starts from pole position and will be in the prime position for the reverse-grid race which he of course took a debut win in last season.
– Race three is expected to get underway at 17:00pm, and you can follow all the happenings from Snetterton on thecheckeredflag.co.uk, and on Twitter through tcfBTCC.