24-year-old takes maiden title after thrilling finale at Brands Hatch
Andrew Jordan has won the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship having held his nerve on a quite thrilling final day of racing at Brands Hatch.
The 24-year-old went into the weekend leading the standings, but with four former champions breathing down his neck. When one of those, Jason Plato, cruised to victory in the first two races it looked as if Jordan may face late heartache.
Jordan had driven tentatively in the first race, but still secured a credible fifth, before disaster struck the Lichfield driver in the second contest. Up to that point he had finished and scored points in all of the season’s 28 races, but that run came to a dramatic end in race two of the day.
Embroiled in a four-way scrap for sixth, the Ford Focus of Aron Smith moved down the inside of Rob Collard’s BMW and the two cars touched, spinning Collard’s eBay Motors machine into the middle of the circuit. Jordan jinked left to avoid him, leaving the Honda of fellow championship challenger Matt Neal with nowhere to go.
The two clashed and the impact immediately broke Jordan’s left rear wheel while Neal was forced to pit with a puncture. Neal’s own title hopes then went up in smoke when a fire broke out in his Honda Civic on the final lap of the race, before exploding into flames shortly after the triple-champion had exited his car.
Plato went on to win while Shedden recovered from his own spin to take seventh, keeping his slim championship chances alive going into the final race of the year. Colin Turkington’s flickering hopes of winning a second BTCC title had already extinguished in race one when he crashed out after unfortunate contact with team-mate Collard.
This left Jordan, Plato and Shedden as the remaining championship contenders going into the final race of an incredible 30-race season.
With the pressure now firmly on him, Jordan had to surge from the back of the grid to score enough points to take the crown. Shedden did his job by leading from start-to-finish, but he still needed a non-score from fellow Honda driver Jordan to retain the title that he’d won himself for the first time last year.
Jordan picked off one car after another during the opening minutes and was up to 11th just five laps in. Plato needed to haul his MG into the podium positions to keep his title hopes alive, but the double champion’s car began to fade after mid-distance.
Jordan had made his way up to ninth and secured the fastest lap of the race, before his team informed him over the radio that the position would be enough to secure his maiden title. Plato had no answer, dropping behind Jordan late on, and although Shedden stormed to another stellar win it was Jordan who had the fans on their feet at the finish.
He added the Independents’ Drivers’ title to the overall championship and his Pirtek Racing squad won the Independents’ Teams’ trophy for the second year in succession. There was some consolation for Honda Yuasa Racing, who won the Manufacturers’ and overall Teams’ titles.
Lea Wood won the inaugural Jack Sears Trophy, which was presented to the Hereford-driver by Sears himself – who was the first ever BTCC champion back in 1958.
Jack Goff closed out his maiden BTCC season by taking a first podium with second in the final race, whilst Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson and MG’s Sam Tordoff finished their respective campaigns in style with two rostrums over the course of the day.
Champion Andrew Jordan said: “After race one I was still pretty tense and then the odds were really stacked against us after race two. It was my aim at the start of the season to win the title and we’ve done it – it’s just such an emotional feeling. It’s hard to explain – it’s relief but mostly complete joy to have won this as a team. I have felt a lot of pressure these last few weeks but I knew what we had to do. I am sure we’ll celebrate hard this evening but we’re back testing at Donington Park on Thursday, so we’re already preparing to defend our title next season!”
Gordon Shedden said: “We’ve had our ups and downs this year, but it’s nice to sign off with a win. Fair play to Andy, he’s done a great job and as a team they’ve done a top job. We’ve got to raise our game and try and go one better next year. Five DNF’s was just too much, particularly when you consider that we didn’t finish that far behind in the end, but it is what it is.”
Jason Plato said: “I wish I could have put in a better performance in race three, the conditions were difficult and we just couldn’t get the car working like it was in the first two races. I knew going into the race it was going to be tough. I’m still very pleased, we came into the weekend, got pole and then maximum scores in races one and two. Andrew is genuinely a very worthy champion, he’s driven fantastically well this year. I’ve known his team and his dad for a long time and seen them grow into a very good outfit. We’ve got a long winter ahead of us to try and improve the car – we really need to win it next year!”
Matt Neal said: “I’m absolutely over the moon for Andrew, Mike and all the guys at Pirtek. They’ve not bought their way into it – they’ve put the programme together, given Pirtek a good return on their investment and worked hard on the engineering side with us, and what a result they’ve come away with. I’d have loved to have come away with the title in our stable, looking at Andy and Mike reminds me of my dad and myself when we did it, and a Honda still won which is the main thing! I’ll be coming back harder, faster, leaner and meaner, and I’ll be trying not to break my hand near the end of the season again!”
Lea Wood said: “I’m very impressed with this trophy! I’m so pleased with the way this year has gone, we never dreamed we’d get this far. We had a mechanical problem today with the gearbox, but we managed to bring the old Vectra home one last time, and it’s brilliant to be a part of this moment. I’ll always remember this day, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch GP race results:
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 17 Laps
2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) +5.209
3 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +10.151
4 Tom Onslow-Cole (Airwaves Racing) +12.603
5 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +12.918
6 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) +13.495
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 15 Laps
2 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +0.906
3 Mat Jackson (Airwaves Racing) +5.691
4 Dave Newsham (Speedworks Toyota) +8.062
5 Aron Smith (Airwaves Racing) +9.734
6 Jack Goff (RCIB Insurance Racing) +16.855
1 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) 15 Laps
2 Jack Goff (RCIB Insurance Racing) +2.112
3 Mat Jackson (Airwaves Racing) +2.279
4 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) +3.143
5 Aron Smith (Airwaves Racing) +11.209
6 Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport) +12.775
Final Championship Standings:
1 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) 397
2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) 390
3 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 380
4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 356
5 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) 347
6 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) 286
Manufacturers/Constructors Champions: Honda/Team Dynamics
HiQ Teams Champions: Honda Yuasa Racing
Independents Trophy Champion: Andrew Jordan
Independents Team Trophy Champions: Pirtek Racing