BTCC: Jordan and BMW dominate at Croft

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Source: Twitter (@BTCC)

Andrew Jordan’s recent momentum continued at the fourth meeting of the 2019 KwikFit British Touring Car Championship.

The 2013 champion repeated his recent race double at Thruxton, storming to victory in Rounds 10 and 11.

Andrew Jordan produced another stellar weekend at Croft, taking a double victory for the second successive meeting. (Source: ITV.com)

Jordan’s relentless pace in his Pirtek-backed BMW suggests the 3 Series is the car to have this season. He has five race wins already to his name in 2019; the most for him in a season since his championship-winning success of six years ago.

However, it is defending champion Colin Turkington who left the circuit near Darlington as sole leader of the championship.

Andrew in cruise control

Jordan had got his weekend off to a fine start by claiming pole position in one of the most chaotic qualifying sessions of recent years.

In tricky conditions, there were no fewer than five red flags and the actual session overran by 45 minutes.

In fact, one of the stoppages was caused by Jordan, who had a spin after a flat tyre at the complex. However, he kept his pole because he’d set the two fastest times in the session.

From there, he took complete command of the opening race of the day, Round 10 of the season. The record books will have it down as a processional race with the first five cars on the starting grid finishing in their same positions.

Sunny Out drama

Nevertheless, there was some drama in a race held under dark skies and a damp track surface after an early morning rain shower.

The Sunny Out corner claimed Ollie Jackson’s Motorbase BMW, who ran wide and hit a temporary barrier, doing significant damage to his machine.

Moments later, Rob Collard came a cropper at the same place and crashed his Vauxhall, bringing out the Safety Car.

Whilst under caution, Jackson’s damage finally got the better of him and a deflating tyre sent him straight into the gravel trap at the first bend.

Jordan had built a healthy advantage before this interruption and on the restart, remained in cruise control.

Chris Smiley finished second in his BTC Racing customer Honda for his first podium of the campaign.

Chris Smiley achieved his best finish of the season in Round 10, coming home in a fine second place for BTC Racing. (Source: www.touringcartimes.com)

Jackson’s teammate, Tom Chilton came third ahead of the Team WSR BMW’s of Turkington and Tom Oliphant, who traded paint during the race.

Dan Cammish completed the top six with his Team Dynamics teammate Matt Neal moving up to 10th from 13th on the grid after a couple of excellent moves on the Sunny In/Out part of the track.

Smiley and Ash clash

Round 11 was held in the best conditions of the day and despite having maximum ballast, it was Jordan who led from pole and dominated once again. He seemed to cope with the ballast but the same couldn’t be said for Smiley.

This was a sight the field got used to at Croft as Jordan drove away from the pack in the first two races of the day. (Source: www.crash.net)

He had a bottleneck of cars behind him and eventually, Turkington found a way through, overpowering the Honda on the exit of Tower Corner.

As Chilton dropped back, Cammish came into position to take third place and Neal showed his shrewd experience to work his way through to fourth from his mid-grid position.

The big talking point came on the final lap. Still looking good for a fine fifth place, Smiley’s fine defensive performance was ruined after contact with 2017 champion Ash Sutton in the Subaru.

Sutton continued to finish fifth but the spin onto the wet grass dropped a luckless Smiley to 27th and last place on the road.

The Subaru driver kept his position but was blamed by race stewards and received a grid drop for the final race of the day.

Oliphant wasn’t a factor after his own wild spin on the opening lap. Meanwhile, a rejuvenated Jason Plato continued his decent consistency with a sixth place finish.

Chilton holds firm

The reverse grid race put Chilton, who had finished ninth in the second race onto pole position with Josh Cook on the front row alongside.

A biblical rainstorm during the Porsche Supercup race before the final BTCC event forced most of the frontrunners onto wet tyres but on a rapidly drying track.

Third-placed Tom Ingram took a gamble on the other side and went for slicks.

It didn’t quite work for the Toyota driver who didn’t see any major benefits until the penultimate lap.

Fastest lap and 16th place were poor reward for a brave decision that ultimately backfired.

Chilton held firm despite huge pressure throughout from Cook and Plato. He took his team’s first victory of the season on a track where Motorbase have often done well when Mat Jackson drove for them.

Sutton charged through to fourth ahead of Neal. A minor excursion on the last lap dropped Jordan to eighth, allowing Turkington and Rory Butcher to slip through.

By the standards of the usual race three frolics, this was a tamer event than usual.

The drivers though should be praised for their excellent driving throughout the day after some sub-standard displays in qualifying.

Turkington holds a narrow lead over Cook and Sutton in the championship, with Jordan a real danger and now up to fourth in the standings. The next round is in a fortnight’s time at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

Chilton and Motorbase had the last say but the Croft round of the 2019 BTCC belonged to BMW and Andrew Jordan.

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