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Smith takes the spoils in tense final race at Snetterton

Sunday, August 03 2014

Aron Smith scored his second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race victory of the year at Snetterton today (Sunday), in an enthralling final race of the day. Just over five seconds covered the top ten, with Mat Jackson and Colin Turkington completing the podium.

At the start, Fabrizio Giovanardi challenged Smith into Riches but backed out of making a move on the Passat, slotting in behind. Giovanardi's team mate Jackson assumed third place ahead of Adam Morgan and the works Honda of Matt Neal, whilst Turkington and Jason Plato both passed Gordon Shedden.

There were several wild moments in the opening laps. Morgan ran wide at Agostini on lap two, dropping him a couple of places, and Lea Wood left the road at Murray's. Next time round at Montreal, Martin Depper and Nick Foster made heavy contact.

Smith held station at the front, but the top five were bunched together, and behind the Fords, Turkington was desperate to find a way past Neal. This brought Morgan back into play, and the increasingly intense Shedden-Plato battle too.

Turkington attacked Neal on lap seven, and into Montreal the Honda half-spun. Morgan tried to capitalise, but after contact with Turkington he fell back behind Plato, Shedden and Tordoff, leaving him to deal with the attentions of Rob Collard. Seconds before, Jackson had taken second from his team mate and this shifted attention back to the lead fight.

As Smith reverted back to a defensive position, the field bunched together once more. Turkington tried to wrest third from Giovanardi, then Plato and Shedden attacked the Ulsterman.

By the ninth of the 12 laps, Jackson was all over Smith's Passat, trying to take the lead around Coram, but the Irishman eked out a useful gap on the following lap.  The Focus closed up again on the final lap, but Smith remained calm, adding to his Oulton Park win.

Giovanardi came under attack from Turkington exiting Bomb Hole, and running wide at Coram, lost several places, eventually finishing in 13th place. This handed the final podium place to Turkington, consolidating his title lead, albeit with Plato completing a strong weekend in fourth place.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race three
1, Aron Smith, Team BMR, VW Passat, 12 Laps
2, Mat Jackson, Airwaves Racing, Ford Focus, +0.444s
3, Colin Turkington, eBay Motors, BMW 125i, +1.160s
4, Jason Plato, MG, MG6, +2.227s
5, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +2.598s
6, Rob Collard, eBay Motors, BMW 125i, +3.014s
7, Sam Tordoff, MG, MG6, +3.586s
8, Adam Morgan, WIX Racing, Mercedes A-Class, +4.428s
9, Marc Hynes, Quantel Bifold Racing, MG6, +5.197s
10, Jack Goff, Team BMR, VW Passat, +5.315s

Click here to download the full result

This weekend's round has enabled Turkington to extend his title lead from seven points to 23 over Shedden, and the BMW 1-Series is proving to be a formidable prospect for the championship's remaining rounds. The MG was, however, the car to beat this weekend, in particular in Plato's hands. His stunning pace, as evidenced from second practice yesterday, has enabled him to leap-frog Jordan for third, assisted by a miserable weekend for the reigning champion. Jordan's crash in Saturday's opening session meant that leaves Norfolk with a solitary point, and 78 behind the leader.

Championship top five
1, Colin Turkington, 279
2, Gordon Shedden, 256
3, Jason Plato, 236
4, Andrew Jordan, 201
5, Rob Collard, 187

The next major event a Snetterton is the Truck Superprix on 13/14 September. Tickets are available from £18, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.