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British Touring Car Championship racers serve up Thruxton thriller
A CAR HIT a tyre wall and did a barrel roll at over 100mph during the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.
Simon Belcher's Toyota Avensis went hurtling off the course at Church Corner and smashed into the wall before flipping and landing in the trees.
Belcher emerged unscathed from the crash, to cheers from the crowd who had watched the drama unfold on the big screens.
However, the car was left in the undergrowth for the remainder of the day's racing before the wreckage was hauled out.
Elsewhere, Honda showed the way again, with Andrew Jordan, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal dominating the action although in the reverse grid third race it was BMW pilot Colin Turkington who joined Jordan and Shedden in the winners’ list.
Reigning champion Jordan extended his advantage at the top of the Dunlop MSA BTCC standings after an impressive win in the opening race in the Pirtek Honda Civic, before the Yuasa Honda Tourer of Shedden and eBay BMW of Turkington claimed the honours in races two and three respectively.
Jordan clinched pole position for the third consecutive season at the high speed Hampshire circuit, but surprisingly had yet to taste victory champagne at the UK’s most daunting track. That all changed when he took a lights-to-flag victory in the opener, however, which he followed up with second and fourth place finishes in the other two contests.
Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden completed the podium in race one, but the latter would go even better in the next showdown.
Shedden attacked for the lead from the outset but was lucky to stay in contention after running off at the Campbell/Cobb complex on the first lap.
Shedden eventually got by Hampshire’s Rob Collard coming out of Church corner and the top two began to pull clear.
Jordan’s hatchback looked decidedly looser than its Tourer rival and when the former slid wide through Church, Shedden got a run on the outside of Brooklands and made the move stick before they’d reached Club on lap 11. Shedden went on to win from Jordan and Collard.
It was Colin Turkington’s turn to star in race three after the Ulsterman surged from fifth on the grid and into the lead before the end of the first lap. It was a position the BMW driver would keep until the finish line, promoting him up to third in the overall championship standings behind Jordan and Shedden.
Andrew Jordan said: “It feels great to finally convert a pole position at Thruxton into a victory. Race three was mega for us too. To come through unscathed and get a decent points haul is brilliant. It’s been a great touring car weekend, and a great weekend for Honda.”
Shedden said: “The first two races today were fantastic although the third one was a bit chaotic! It was important to come through and get good points in race three with weight onboard.”
A relieved Turkington said: “This has been a bit of a bogey track for us – I don’t think a BMW has won here since 2009, so to take that win was really special. I was a little worried with the two safety cars, but because Thruxton works the tyres harder I was able to keep them in the sweet spot and race for the full distance.”
Among the other races a notable result for the record books was a Formula Ford victory for Sam Brabham – the son of David Brabham and grandson of Sir Jack Brabham.
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