The British Touring Car Championship was back to its very best last weekend with plenty of panel bashing action as the series moved on to the fast Donington Park circuit.
And as is the way with the BTCC, plenty of close racing meant the three race wins were shared out among the pack.
Jason Plato started from pole after cutting the lap record by six tenths in Saturday qualifying and carried that momentum through to race one, leading the pack home for his first win of the year.
Plato’s teammate Sam Tordoff, now in his second season in the BTCC and building on his experience, finished behind Plato, with reigning champion Andrew Jordan rounding off the podium in third in his Honda Civic.
Race two was a role reversal as the two MGs cleared off, this time Tordoff getting the better of his teammate.
There was plenty of action on the opening lap as former BTCC champion Alain Menu – returning to the series after a 13 year break – contacted another car in his VW.
That sent the car spinning out of control and onto the wet grass – with braking force diminished on sodden surface he speared back across the track into the flow of cars with everyone thankfully managing to avoid the spinning Menu.
A safety car period to remove the VW from the gravel trap meant a restart, but it didn’t affect Tordoff. He managed to eek the gap out to around a second before crossing the finish line to take his first BTCC race win. Plato followed him home in second while Matt Neal in the Civic came in third.
The final race of the day was action packed, too. Colin Turkington in the BMW 1 Series managed to scamper away from the pack and looked set to take victory.
However, Gordon Shedden in the Honda Civic Tourer had other ideas. Coming from fourth on the grid the Honda driver engaged in a brilliant battle with his teammate Neal before passing Jason Plato’s MG.
From there he set about chasing down Turkington and by the last lap was right on his tail. Sizing the BMW driver up to pass him, Shedden was run onto the grass but regrouped for a last corner overtake.
Going into Donington’s final set of corners – a right-left chicane – both were late on the brakes with Shedden going round the outside of Turkington who defended.
The two cars touched and both went head-on into the gravel, however, it was the Civic Tourer of Shedden that emerged from the gravel trap first, crossing the line to claim the Honda estate’s first ever BTCC win.
Three action packed races yet again proves touring cars always delivers a spectacle for the fans, and we bet it’ll be exactly the same next time out at the fast Thruxton circuit.
It’s a drivers’ favourite, with plenty of fast corners to test skill, bravery and car setup, which is a recipe for some spectacular racing.