Oulton Park BTCC: Aron Smith wins dramatic final race
|By Kevin Turner||Sunday, June 8th 2014, 16:43 GMT|
Aron Smith took his second British Touring Car victory in a dramatic reversed-grid finale at Oulton Park.
The BMR Volkswagen Passat driver started from pole and led throughout, despite never being clear of the battling pack.
A heavy rain shower before the event drenched the circuit, even though the sun was shining by the time the cars lined up, with all but James Cole starting on wet tyres.
Smith initially led Mat Jackson's Motorbase Ford Focus and the fast-starting WSR BMW of Rob Collard, but racing was briefly neutralised on lap one.
Jack Goff and Hunter Abbott clashed at Old Hall and went off, while Matt Neal's works Honda Civic Tourer also crashed at the same corner.
On the first lap of the restart, Jackson ran wide at Cascades and took a trip across the grass. He recovered, but would finish only ninth.
Collard inherited second but then he too ran across the grass at the second chicane, allowing Gordon Shedden's Honda into second.
The top five of Smith, Shedden, Collard, Jason Plato (Triple Eight MG) and Colin Turkington (WSR BMW) all closed up before Plato tapped Collard into a spin at Lodge on lap six of 13.
As Collard recovered to an eventual 11th, Turkington overtook Plato and briefly challenged Shedden for second.
But as the track dried, the BMW started to struggle and, after swapping places with Plato twice, Turkington lost third when the MG nudged him under braking for the Shell Oils hairpin.
Plato then closed up on Shedden, but ran out of time to overtake, with Smith crossing the line a second ahead of the battling former champions.
Turkington took fourth, while Rob Austin (Audi A4) narrowly held off Sam Tordoff's MG and the BMR Passat of Alain Menu to secure fifth.
Reigning champion Andrew Jordan (Eurotech Honda) had a quiet race, but stayed out of trouble to come home eighth.
Cole was the fastest man on track in the closing stages with his slick tyres and ended up 20th. His United Autosports Toyota team-mate Glynn Geddie finished 12th.
Results - 13 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Aron Smith BMR VW 26m08.776s 2. Gordon Shedden Honda +0.846s 3. Jason Plato MG +1.140s 4. Colin Turkington WSR BMW +2.214s 5. Rob Austin RAR Audi +3.273s 6. Sam Tordoff MG +3.519s 7. Alain Menu BMR VW +4.229s 8. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda +5.920s 9. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford +13.095s 10. Fabrizio Giovanardi Motorbase Ford +14.199s 11. Rob Collard WSR BMW +16.198s 12. Glynn Geddie UA Toyota +22.785s 13. Marc Hynes MG +23.115s 14. Warren Scott BMR Vauxhall +24.457s 15. Nick Foster WSR BMW +24.589s 16. Martin Depper Eurotech Honda +24.949s 17. Adam Morgan Ciceley Mercedes +31.521s 18. Jack Clarke Motorbase Ford +35.122s 19. Lea Wood Houseman Toyota +35.727s 20. James Cole UA Toyota +36.689s 21. Simon Belcher Handy Toyota +46.062s 22. Ollie Jackson Welch Proton +1m00.349s 23. Daniel Welch Welch Proton -2 laps Retirements: Hunter Abbott RAR Audi 5 laps Robb Holland Rotek Audi 3 laps Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 0 laps Matt Neal Honda 0 laps Jack Goff BMR Vauxhall 0 laps Chris Stockton BTC Chevrolet 0 laps