Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan took his second win of the season in the final British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park, after early leaders Rob Austin and Jeff Smith dropped back.
“That was a cracking touring car race,” said Jordan. “At the start I thought it was all going to kick off. I just had to bide my time. [It was a] fantastic touring car race.
“I’m very disappointed for Jeff [Smith] because he’d been very strong all day and unfortunately he made a little mistake into the chicane. It’s a shame we couldn’t have a 1-2 for Pirtek Racing.”
In an enthralling encounter, it was Rob Austin who shot off the line in his rear-wheel-drive Audi to take the lead of the race ahead of pole-sitter Smith, with Dan Welch reclaiming third after a slow launch.
Jason Plato’s MG catching fire at the end of the second lap was a sign of action to come in the remaining 12 laps, as fellow championship contender Gordon Shedden suffered a puncture soon after and could only recover to 17th.
At the front, the leading duo of Austin and Smith had a coming together at Cascades but both continued, while a tap from Adam Morgan on lap five caused rubbing to Welch’s bodywork, and he soon plummeted out of contention.
With a queue of cars now forming behind Austin, Smith tapped the Audi on the exit of Lodge to take the lead at the end of the seventh lap, with Morgan also flying past into second. Austin soon lost places to Jordan, Turkington and Matt Neal as his pace fell away slightly.
A lap later Jordan worked his way around Morgan and began to catch his teammate out in front, with Turkington harrying the Toyota for third. Smith had begun to struggle with his tyres and on lap twelve the back end of his Honda stepped out on the entrance to Knickerbrook, as he fishtailed his car back onto the circuit in fifth place. He had a similar moment on the following lap at Cascades, and ended the race a lap down after a great initial showing.
With Turkington having worked his way around Morgan, the top two positions seemed nailed on, but the battle for the final podium position saw Morgan fend off Neal to claim his maiden podium in the series, less than a tenth of a second ahead of the championship leader.
Austin followed them home for a fine fifth place which was made all the sweeter by Will Bratt’s sixth place finish, an uneventful but welcome run for the youngster. Behind them came Sam Tordoff after a storming drive from 21st on the grid, with Nick Foster, Frank Wrathall and Aron Smith completing the top ten.
Lea Wood had looked set to complete a hat-trick of S2000 class wins until his race was curtailed three laps from the finish. He now leads the Jack Sears Trophy by five wins to four from Liam Griffin.