by Tom McBeth
Excitement and anticipation for the British Touring Car Championship 2015 season was high among fans after the opening round at Brands Hatch.
A series of surprise results had the Honda team leaving the opening event in Kent as championship leaders, following two victories and a poor performance from 2014 title challengers Colin Turkington and Jason Plato.
The grandstands were treated to sunshine, but it was the action on the short Indy circuit that caught the attention of the packed crowd in attendance.
The feeder series featured the usual thrills and spills from the Porsches, Renault Clios and Formula Fords but it was the touring cars that the majority had come to see.
The first touring car race was a well behaved affair with 25 of the 26 entrants taking the chequered flag. Pole sitter Andy Priaulx fell back on his debut, finishing 9th, whilst Rob Collard took the first chequered flag of the season. There was little to be said for last year’s champion, Colin Turkington, who finished a quiet fifth.
The second race saw drama as Jason Plato lost a comfortable lead, pitching into the gravel at the first corner with a puncture. This gave Honda’s Gordon Shedden victory by a margin of just 0.04 of a second from Andy Priaulx. Turkington took the final place on the podium.
The final race saw another close finish as Matt Neal took Honda’s second win for the day from rising star Jack Goff by less than two tenths of a second. Reigning champion, Turkington, spent the race duelling with 2014 rival, and 2015 teammate, Jason Plato as they ended up finishing 12th and 16th respectively.
The event saw highs and lows for the drivers, and was a surprisingly well mannered affair for all on track, but it’s only a two week wait to see if the same can be said about Donington Park, and if the results the first race threw up were a fluke or a true reflection of the 2015 grid.