Gordon Shedden has won an eventful opening race at Donington Park, whilst his championship rivals all suffered problems. Tom Chilton crossed the finish line in second with Mat Jackson completing the podium. Significantly, championship leader Jason Plato crashed out of the race and scored no points after an incident involving Matt Neal.
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Shedden was up to second by the end of the opening lap after pole sitter Tom Chilton made a poor start. After the first half of the race was spent following Tom Onslow-Cole, Shedden made his move at McLeans on the 11th lap. Just a few corners later there was to be chaos behind him that affected several of his championship rivals.
Going into the revised chicane Plato tagged the back of Neal which sent the Honda driver into a slide. Ultimately Plato only has himself to blame for as Neal attempted to recover the slide he speared into the side of Plato, breaking the Chevrolet driver’s front-left wheel. In the melée, in which several markers on the chicane went flying, Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard also got caught up. Jordan was forced to retire immediately whilst Collard recovered but could only finish in 16th.
When the race resumed after a second safety car period, Shedden was able to hold off Chilton until the chequered flag, although he admitted after the race it had been one of his toughest wins. Mat Jackson finished third after avoiding the chaos at the chicane on lap 11 and ultimately being one of the biggest benefactors of the incident!
Alex MacDowall finished in fourth after managing to avoid the majority of incidents, scoring the only points for Chevrolet in the race after Plato’s demise. Matt Neal finished in fifth, despite being one of the main drivers involved in the earlier antics.
One of the drives of the race came from Steven Kane who was able to fight through the field to finish in 6th, despite starting from the very back of the grid. Kane didn’t manage to avoid all incident though as only lap 5 he was involved in a tangle with Tom Boardman and Paul O’Neill that sent the latter out of the race and prompting the first safety car period.
Boardman himself was 7th – his first points finish in 9 races coming as a much needed relief.
Onslow-Cole had also been caught up in the dramas at the chicane and in avoidance of Neal went accross the gravel, damaging the front of his car in the process. The rest of the lap saw him slide down the order as he attempted to defend his position with a car that was lacking in front-end grip. After losing four places in one lap, Onslow-Cole would struggle to recover and finished in 8th.
James Kaye took 9th place in his first race in the BTCC since 2006. The BTCC veteran only made the position his on the last lap of the race, passing David Pinkney for the extra point. Pinkney finished in 10th after a good drive from the back of the grid.