Last weekend saw the BTCC Oulton Park Rounds 2018 as the Touring Car teams and drivers made their way to Cheshire, and yet again, there was glorious sunshine all around, with plenty who were there leaving with new found tans as well as happy memories. As normal, the support series included the Clio Cup, British F4, the Ginetta GT4 Supercup, the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Ginetta Juniors.
The hot weather no doubt played a part in the proceedings, having some impact on how tyres performed through the weekend, and it was Rob Austin who made the most of them in the first free practice session, topping the times from Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton. In the second free practice, it was Matt Simpson’s turn to top the times, ahead of Brett Smith, and another impressive session from Austin saw him take third.
Moving on to qualifying and Simpson’s streak of good performance continued with him taking his first ever pole ahead of Sam Tordoff and Chilton. The session provided for a mixed up grid with Ollie Jackson, Adam Morgan and Josh Cook, all enjoying good seasons, in 18th, 19th and 20th respectively.
Simpson made the best possible use of his pole position, leading the first race from flag to flag, with only a brief scare when a few puffs of smoke from his front tyre, and added a maiden win to his maiden pole. He was joined on the podium by Chilton and Andrew Jordan.
Simpson’s car, however, needed some work done to the engine meaning that this was the end of his race weekend. The other thirty one drivers all moved one place up the grid for the second race, with Chilton promoted to pole. This time, though, it was Colin Turkington who was on the charge and was soon fighting with Chilton for the lead. He eased by, and continued unchallenged to take his first win of the season. After a good opening few rounds for some of the newer drivers, Turkington was joined on the podium by another veteran, Matt Neal, with Chilton taking third.
The draw for pole for the third race saw Rob Austin start from the front, but it was the BMWs who started most impressively, with Rob Collard quickly taking the lead. A first lap incident saw the BTC Norlin cars of Chris Smiley and BTCC returned Dan Lloyd being taken out, with the safety car being deployed before the race was red flagged. Austin’s car had mechanical problems which saw him retire, and Collard took the win with team mates Jordan and Turkington joining him on the podium. A special mention to Mike Bushell and Jake Hill from Team Hard, who after a challenging weekend, managed an eighth and ninth place in the third race, with Bushell sharing the Jack Sears trophy with Ollie Jackson for the event. Jake Hill continues to lead the Forever Forward table for most overtakes.
Turkington’s strong weekend sees him leading the championship
The next round is Croft in two weeks, meanwhile here are some photos from Oulton.