The penultimate round of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to the home of British motorsport, Silverstone, with Andrew Jordan now the man in his rival’s crosshairs at a critical stage in the season…
After a stunning weekend for the Eurotech Honda Civic driver at Rockingham that included his fifth and sixth victories of the season, Jordan not only became the most winning driver of the 2013 season, but opened out a healthy championship lead of 30 points over Gordon Shedden.
The reigning Independent and overall champion both took advantage of a torrid weekend in Corby for former points leader Matt Neal, one which will have brought back memories of a similarly forgettable meeting at this very Silverstone circuit 12 months ago which left him on the back foot in 2012, Neal now entering the same venue 34 points adrift of Jordan.
Power equals performance at Silverstone
Rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the engaging and so far very unpredictable 30-race championship will be vital for the front-runners at Silverstone’s shorter National circuit, a layout that is not expected to suit Honda this weekend.
The simple 1.6 mile circuit features just six corners in between the slipstream-friendly three flat-out stretches of tarmac, Honda last year suffering from a lack of straight-line performance that left them well out of contention for success in the 2012 visit.
Championship leader Jordan told thecheckeredflag.co.uk after Rockingham that surviving this weekend’s meeting with a solid haul of points is the main agenda for the title contenders, saying: “I’ve had a podium at every race, and I’ll be surprised if that continues at Silverstone.
“We are racing the Hondas mainly, so if we can just be competitive compared to them, we should be ok. Then Brands Grand Prix I think we’ll be really good at.”
While Honda will not be aided by the 45kg and 36kg of penalty ballast that Jordan and Shedden will be forced to carry into qualifying and race one of the weekend, their rivals must capitalise should the situation repeat itself again this weekend.
Honda’s rivals ready to pounce
MG flew at Silverstone last season, Jason Plato winning two of the three encounters including the latter of them remarkably from the tail of the field.
The KX Momentum Racing team come off the back of their third qualifying 1-2 of the season at Rockingham, and both Plato and Sam Tordoff will fancy their chances of repeating the feat this weekend with a strong engine in their MG6.
Plato’s second half of the season has not been brandished with great fortune however, leaving him 62 points adrift and realistically out of title contention with six races to go. In contrast, the weekend could be one for Colin Turkington to grasp the full advantage with.
The eBay Motors BMW driver again fought through to three strong results at Rockingham to jump to third in the points and just 33 behind Jordan, but the BMW 125i’s strong powerplant and enviable rear-wheel drive traction will make the Irishman and on-form team-mate Rob Collard a formidable force at Silverstone.
Another team with good memories of the National circuit are Airwaves Racing, their NGTC Ford Focus snatching a fabulous maiden win when Mat Jackson charged from 17th to win the second 25-lapper here last season.
Jackson also had a superb Rockingham showing where he spent the majority of Sunday in the top five and booking another visit to the podium – something which he and team-mates Aron Smith and Tom Onslow-Cole will be expecting to emulate in Northampton this weekend with a car that suits the shorter layout of Silverstone.
Rob Austin meanwhile enters Silverstone with one of the biggest grins on the grid, after breaking his touring car duck with a victory in race two at Rockingham that was greeted by a hearty round of applause from the BTCC partisan. Austin was a star performer in the 2011 finale at Silverstone, the light Audi A4 becoming one of the 2013 season’s quickest machines in the field from recent meetings.
Dan Welch returned from Rockingham in not the most comfortable of conditions, his involvement in a race one pile-up at Gracelands leaving him with a bruised coxis. The Proton man will be racing in much fitter condition this weekend however, while Andy Neate will hope to make it past the first lap after he was the most unfortunate in the shunt which ended his Rockingham meeting on the spot.
Moffat in for HARD, Wood out for more
Team HARD‘s latest driver change is the addition of Aiden Moffat in place of Andy Wilmot behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Passat, the 16-year-old impressing in a recent test run of the NGTC car at Brands Hatch.
The remainder of Tony Gilham‘s squad remains unchanged, with Jack Goff again being partnered by Howard Fuller in the second Vauxhall Insignia.
The Jack Sears Trophy was secured two meetings early at Rockingham after an emphatic hat-trick of class victories for Lea Wood, putting the Central Racing driver out of reach.
The Vauxhall Vectra driver will continue in a bid to claim a further six possible wins, but he will still have competition from the Fords of Liam Griffin and David Nye over the final two meetings.
– You can follow all of the action, news and interviews from this weekend on thecheckeredflag.co.uk, and on Twitter through tcfBTCC.