Independent racer Adam Morgan scored an historic maiden win for Mercedes at the latest round of the 2015 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship on the superfast Thruxton circuit.
In the long history of the BTCC it was the first Mercedes flagged victory – Morgan had won in last year’s finale at Brands Hatch but only after stewards demoted podium-topper Jason Plato for driving standards.
This time the crowds that literally filled the car parks for the first time in years were treated to generally clean but dramatic racing and a spread of honours with wins for Gordon Shedden in the new works Yuasa Honda Civic Type R, Plato in the independent Team BMR Volkswagen CC and Morgan in the WIX Racing A-Class Mercedes. Showing the sustained top-level longevity of his the BTCC career, it was Plato’s 90th race victory.
But Morgan’s was the sweetest success after leading from lights to flag in the reverse grid finale to the day, despite the safety car cutting the lead he built up. He said: “It’s an incredible feeling – it was great to win at Brands but doing it on the road is another level. I’ve wanted to get a lights-to-flag victory for so long, and to do it around Thruxton is amazing.
“Thanks to all the guys in the team – the car was brilliant, and while I did have a bit of vibration it made it to the end. It’s been a great day all round – we’re a small team but we have some fantastic backing from the guys at WIX and all our other sponsors and with three podiums this year, we’re getting there.”
Shedden showed his class by heading home a Honda one-two with Matt Neal in the opener, continuing the success story for the Japanese manufacturer at the fastest circuit in the country. The result for the new Civic Type R was the eighth victory for Honda in the last nine races at Thruxton, which has spanned three models of car.
Morgan claimed another eye-catching podium ahead of Plato who came out on top in the second race after a classic joust with West Surrey Racing’s Rob Collard in the BMW 125.
Morgan then scored that magic BTCC podium topper with a flawless drive in the final race, holding off reigning champion manufacturer MG Triple Eight Racing’s Andrew Jordan who maintained his championship challenge with second place for the MG6 GT.
Now the championship sees five former champions in the top five positions. Shedden leads Colin Turkington by eight points, then Neal, Plato and Jordan, while Honda holds the advantage over MG in the Manufacturers/Constructors Championship and Team BMR maintains its lead in the Teams’ standings.
Turkington and Team BMR head the Independents’ tables, and Power Maxed Racing’s Josh Cook is the Jack Sears Trophy leader, open to rookie competitors.
There was more tin-top action in the 2015 Renault Clio Cup, with Ash Hand and Ashley Sutton respectively taking first and second in both races – Hand clocking 162 km/h average on his fastest lap – while Paul Rivett and Ant Whorton-Eales traded third and fourth apiece.