Amidst three dramatic races in today’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, both Silverline Chevrolet drivers starred in moments of glory – the first being Alex’s superb first race of the day, in which he charged his way to second place, resisting the ever present pressure from Matt Neal. Jason’s ‘champagne moment’ came in race three with a mature drive, and championship in mind, to take victory from the third row of the grid.
Losing ground to Shedden off the line in the first race, Alex tucked back into second but refusing to give in too easily, clung to the Honda, narrowly avoiding trouble as Shedden saved a big slide into the first corner. Despite two restarts during the race to clear stray cars and debris, Alex maintained momentum and held position to the end.
Alex summarised: “I didn’t make the best start, but I know how strong the car is so I was able to make up for that. I was carrying more speed then Shedden, so perhaps he was trying to back me up into Matt, but I wasn’t having that – I just wanted to get on with it and try and steal the lead! I didn’t quite manage that, despite putting him under pressure, but second is a fantastic result. The Silverline Chevrolet Cruze is the car to be in here, we’ve got a great partnership.”
In the sister Cruze, Jason had a tough race with the additional weight hurting his straight line speed. From the start Jason got a clean getaway but a big lock up into the hairpin by the 8th lap allowed Kane and Chilton to squeeze through, demoting Jason to 6th. With the Cruze working well through the tight, twisty corners – a benefit of the front-wheel drive cars here, Jason managed to close in on the leading pack and crossed the line just behind in 6th place. Importantly for the championship, Neal finished 5th and Onslow-Cole 7th.
A disappointing start from Alex saw him pull to the left in race two, allowing team-mate Jason through, closely followed by Tom Chilton, who in turn just stretched ahead of the Cruze into the hairpin. With Jason running 5th and Alex 7th, the safety car was deployed to clear the collision of Collard and Pinkney. On the restart a fierce move from O’Neill pushed Alex wide into the hairpin, allowing Jordan to slip through too. Alex was now running in 9th. A lap later, Neal took the lead from team-mate Shedden but the racing was far from over. Some scrappy laps ensued from the leading Honda Racing duo, allowing the pack to bunch up, edging Jason ever closer. By lap 23 Jason made a clean, calculated pass and was immediately all over Kane’s tail, inching him just wide enough to sneak ahead as Kane locked up.
Jason said: “I’m reasonably happy with 3rd it’s a good result having started 6th. There was no way passed the car ahead of me, despite being in the quicker car but as the race went on, I knew I had to find a way through because once ahead, I was able to unleash the true pace of my lighter Cruze. The weight removal made a huge impact on my straight line speed and the car handled better under braking into the hairpin where I’d initially been struggling".
And on his Kane pass, Jason adds: “Well, we both went to the inside but he locked up more than me so I just edged ahead, but these things happen.”
The reverse grid lottery favoured Onslow-Cole for pole, with Jason starting from 5th and Alex 9th. A great start from Jason promoted him to 3rd from the first corner before a risky move from Jackson over Onslow-Cole went wrong for the Airwaves BMW team, but right for Jason who moved into second place.
As several fell foul of the usual race three dramas, including championship hopeful, Shedden, Jason didn’t put a foot wrong, launching himself ahead of Onslow-Cole on lap 23. In claiming his 58th career win, Jason has now built his championship lead to 202 points. Matt remains 2nd with 182 points and Onslow-Cole third with 178.
Speaking after race three, Jason commented: “I’m really pleased with that. We had to work really hard to outfox the Ford there. It’s been a mixed weekend for me but this win is a great result for all of us. It’s great for the guys, they work so hard and we needed to get some extra points.
As in race two, I was a lot quicker than the Ford, but just couldn’t find a way past. Once we get clear air, we can really use the Cruze – it corners well and brakes well – everything a race car should do. We’re in a nice position with a great car beneath us.”
Donington Park hosts rounds 25,-27 on 18th & 19th September.