Jelley secures first BTCC victory
|By Jamie O'Leary||Sunday, September 20th 2009, 11:04 GMT|
Stephen Jelley claimed his maiden British Touring Car Championship victory in the first race of the day at Rockingham.
The WSR BMW driver leapt up from fourth to second at the start and took advantage when early leader Jonathan Adam ran wide exiting the Deene hairpin on lap nine to take a lead he would not lose.
Adam, who had taken the lead at the start in his Motorbase BMW, gradually fell down the order as RML Chevrolet team-mates Jason Plato and Mat Jackson passed him for the other podium positions during the second half of the race.
Rob Collard took fourth place from his team-mate Adam on the final lap, as the pair beat the Vauxhall of defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi.
Giovanardi's result allowed him to close to within seven points of Colin Turkington in the battle for the championship. Turkington, who started 14th on the grid with 45kg of success ballast on his WSR BMW, made little progress during the race.
He was not helped when he tagged the back end of James Nash's RML Chevrolet on lap 16 and spun exiting the Deene hairpin. He did recover to finish 10th, passing team-mate Anthony Reid and GR-Asia SEAT driver Gordon Shedden on the final lap.
At least he made the flag, which was more than could be said for Johnny Herbert. The ex-Formula 1 driver was eliminated on the first lap at Deene when Matt Neal's Vauxhall clouted him at high speed, having been pushed onto the grass at the approach to the turn.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Stephen Jelley BMW 26m26.025s 2. Jason Plato Chevrolet + 3.399s 3. Mat Jackson Chevrolet + 4.116s 4. Rob Collard BMW + 6.989s 5. Jonathan Adam BMW + 10.304s 6. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall + 12.576s 7. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall + 15.242s 8. James Nash Chevrolet + 17.864s 9. Paul O'Neill Honda + 19.176s 10. Colin Turkington BMW + 22.561s 11. Anthony Reid BMW + 27.255s 12. Gordon Shedden SEAT + 28.661s 13. Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet + 29.499s 14. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford + 31.164s 15. David Pinkney Honda + 41.910s 16. Martin Johnson Vauxhall + 42.080s 17. John George Honda + 43.266s 18. Tom Chilton Ford + 1m15.349s Retirements: Matthew Hamilton Honda 8 laps Johnny Herbert Honda 1 laps Matt Neal Vauxhall 0 laps