Adam Morgan came out on top in a dramatic opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton, one that was brought to an early halt after a multi-car incident.
Morgan’s Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes A-Class fought through the pack from sixth on the grid, the race brought to a halt after a shunt involving championship leader, Matt Neal.
A dramatic race began in such style as Neal jumped up to second spot with a better start than Aiden Moffat‘s Mercedes A-Class, Moffat making it three-abreast with pole-sitter Tom Ingram into the Complex for the first time around.
A tag in the rear of Moffat’s Mercedes from Ingram sent the former sideways, Neal leading the way from Josh Cook‘s MG6 GT. A charging Morgan slipped by Andrew Jordan‘s Motorbase Ford Focus ST, nudging Ingram aside at the Complex a lap later before moving into second ahead of Cook at Allard on lap three.
Morgan’s charge continued on lap four as he threatened Neal for the lead into the chicane, but a much better exit following the attack started a chaotic fifth tour as the Mercedes slipped through. Neal fought back into the Complex, the bunching after contact between the pair seeing Morgan slip by into the lead.
Moffat snuck by into second spot to make it a Mercedes one-two at Allard the following lap around, Cook losing out in the bunching in the second MG as he was shuffled to seventh.
The recovering Ingram was next to attack Neal’s ballast-laden Civic, nibbling at his rival’s bumper into Allard on lap seven before a lurid slide at Church gave Neal breathing space.
A puncture ended Moffat’s hopes of a podium on lap 10 however, Neal inheriting second spot on a lap that also saw similar tyre failures hit Mat Jackson (Ford) and Mark Howard (Volkswagen).
Things got far worse on lap 12 however, as a puncture at the final chicane hit Neal’s Halfords Honda. The triple champion attempted to visit the pit lane, but made contact with Cook’s MG and then Jack Hill‘s Team HARD Toyota Avensis. Gordon Shedden also found himself involved, spinning to a halt on the pit straight.
The red flag signaled a fourth career victory for Morgan, Ingram second ahead of Jordan and Martin Depper who evaded the chaos for a a fabulous fourth for Eurotech. Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff were next up for West Surrey Racing, Dan Welch finishing eighth for Proton.
Hill and Jack Sears Trophy winner Mike Epps rounded out the top 10 for Team HARD, in a memorable result for Tony Gilham‘s outfit. Daniel Lloyd‘s debut for Eurotech saw him finish 11th, Matt Simpson 12th and Alex Martin 15th.
*Results remain provisional
Race two gets underway at 14:32, and you can keep up with all the action right here and via@TheCheckerFlag on Twitter.