Colin Turkington takes BMW’s 100th BTCC Victory at Thruxton Race 3

The reverse grid pole was given to WSR BMW’s Colin Turkington, which meant that Rob Austin’s Avensis was on the front row too, with Jack Goff third and Tom Ingram starting in 4th.

On the start, Turkington got away very cleanly as Jack Goff peeked up the inside of Austin and quickly jumped into 2nd. Ingram was next up and put pressure on the Avensis, eventually getting by on lap three. Matt Neal was trying to salvage his weekend after his costly pitstop in race two, and was up to 20th from the back-row after three laps.

His Honda Yuasa teammate Gordon Shedden was hastling Rob Austin for 4th as Rob Collard closed in to join the fight too. At the front, Jack Goff was starting to eat away at Colin Turkington’s gap at the front.

By lap 8, the battle for 4th had turned into a train, as Austin defended from Shedden with Collard, Moffat and Sutton closing in. Shedden was able to get past going into the first corner and claim 4th. Further up the road, Tom Ingram was able to squeeze by Jack Goff, who had fallen back from Turkington in the lead.

The gap between Turkington and Ingram on lap ten was 1.8s, a chasm in Touring Cars. The biggest battle at this point was for 10th, as Jeff Smith defended from Tom Chilton in the Astra. The Eurotech driver was caught off-guard and hit a kerb that unbalanced the car, causing him to spin out and narrowly miss being collected by the chasing pack.

On lap 13, Ash Sutton overtook Collard for 6th, the BMW was struggling with a maximum 75kg ballast, and Aiden Moffat was on the WSR car’s rear-bumper too. Matt Neal was continuing his charge from the back, and on the final lap was able to overtake Tom Chilton for 10th, but was later reprimanded for gaining an unfair advantage in the move, so would drop back down to 11th after a 0.5s penalty.

Colin Turkington crossed the line for BMW’s 100th BTCC win (excluding class B victories). The Northern Irishman was atypically managerial in the lead, and looked as comfortable as a driver can bombing it around Thruxton. Tom Ingram finished 2nd, his showing weekend enough to head to Oulton Park in two weeks with a 17-point lead at the top of the driver standings. Jack Goff rounded out the race three podium for Eurotech. He has been disappointed that he hasn’t been able to stand on the top step so far, but considering the leap forward Eurotech appear to have made this season, he should be happy nonetheless.

Grodon Shedden secured 4th having successfully pressured his way past Rob Austin, who ended up finishing the race in 5th, holding off Ash Sutton in the Subaru, who had ambitions of a top five finish and was less than a second down on doing so. Sutton has been nothing short of fantastic this weekend, fighting in the top ten whilst the other Levorg’s struggled for any pace.

The heavy success ballast from race two prevented Rob Collard from making much progress, he did well to keep it in the top ten and crossed the line in 7th. Aiden Moffat finished 8th, half-a-second ahead of Adam Morgan in the other Mercedes, with Mat Neal rounding out the top ten having started in 29th. The post-race penalty promotes Tom Chilton’s Astra into 10th instead.

Heading to Oulton Park, Tom Ingram retains a healthy lead over Gordon Shedden, but Colin Turkington’s consistency at Thruxton see’s him only trailing Shedden by two points in the BMW, with a nineteen point gap to Ingram. One DNF from any of the top three opens up the title fight to Collard, Morgan and Goff. Matt Neal is 7th on seventy-four points and it’s worth mentioning that he could have been heading to Oulton Park on fairly equal terms to Shedden, had that race 2 pit-stop from the lead not messed up his chances of scoring another twenty-plus points.

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