Smiley takes maiden BTCC win at Rockingham


Credit: BTCC Media

Chris Smiley becomes a British Touring Car Championship race winner with victory in the final race of the weekend at Rockingham.

The BTC Norlin driver avoided drama at the start of the race to move into the race lead before an early safety car.

Smiley controlled the restart and pulled away from the rest of the field to enjoy a quiet second half of the race to finish three seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

After a delayed start – caused by Ricky Collard’s BMW stopping on the green flag lap – Tom Chilton made a strong start from pole, but was sent into a spin after contact from fellow front row started Matt Simpson.

A number of other drivers, including Ashley Sutton and Andrew Jordan, were caught up in the incident as they tried to avoid the spinning Ford, which had severely damaged front suspension.

Chilton managed to limp back to the pits as the safety car came out to clear the track.

Rory Butcher briefly took the race lead as the race was neutralised, but handed back the position to Smiley for fear of a penalty. The Scot couldn’t challenge on the restart, falling behind Simpson and Colin Turkington. He managed to reclaim the position from Turkington, but ran wide and dropped back down to sixth, where he remained until the chequered flag.

Turkington spent the latter part of the race battling to keep Sam Tordoff and Tom Ingram behind him, allowing Simpson to escape up the road. But a chance at a better position rose on the final lap, when Simpson outbroke himself and ran wide. Turkington picked up second while Tordoff tried to follow him through. After a disappointing start to the day, Tordoff finished just 0.031s off the podium position.

Fifth for Ingram means Turkington reclaims the championship lead heading into the final three rounds of the championship.

Race one winner Adam Morgan spent most of the race leading a train that seemed to consist of most of the field. He put up a good defence, keeping Ollie Jackson and Bobby Thompson behind him until the closing stages of the race. Thompson managed to sneak through to finish seventh, but Morgan shut the door before the rest of the train could follow the Team HARD driver through.

Jackson took ninth ahead of Dan Cammish and Jason Plato.

Josh Cook, Tom Oliphant, Senna Proctor, and Matt Neal completed the points paying positions.