Sam Tordoff made a welcome return to the top step at the weekend with a commanding lights-to-flag victory in the opening race of the penultimate Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting of the year at the ‘Home of British Motor Racing’ Silverstone (September 15/16).
Leading a stunning Motorbase 1-2 ahead of his team-mate Tom Chilton in the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Focus RS, The GardX-backed racer claimed his maiden race win of the season in race 1 – writing history as the 15th different winner of 2018 – a new championship record before going on to collect a further podium in race 2.
Having consistently out-qualified the rest of the 31-strong-grid all year, the Yorkshireman’s efforts were finally rewarded with his 1st pole position of the season during an incredibly close session on the 1.64 mile National Circuit layout – notably the Ford RS’ first pole position since 1990.
Fighting for his first win of the season, Tordoff held off an early challenge from Collard’s fast-starting BMW before coming under pressure from Chilton in the closing laps. With his eyes firmly set on claiming that elusive first win however, an unassailable drive saw him hold-fast to bring the #600 Focus RS across the line in P1.
Tordoff’s excellent tyre management paid dividends in a dramatic race 2. In-spite of carrying the maximum 75kg of success ballast on-board the #600 Focus, an excellent defensive performance from the Yorkshireman secured 3rd as the flag dropped – marking his 2nd podium visit of the day.
A tough task awaited the Leeds-based driver in race 3. After an excellent start off the line, Tordoff -running on the sub-optimal hard-option tyre with 57kg of ballast – was immediately swamped by the lighter charging pack and dropped down to P6 after being forced to take evasive action to avoid a run-in with an errant Simpson on the opening lap. From there, it was a case of damage limitation as the laps unfolded with the Team GardX Racing with Motorbase Focus collecting another strong haul of points in 12th.
The excellent weekend’s results have propelled Tordoff into the top 10 in the overall standings and up to 5th place in the Independent Championship with Team GardX Racing with Motorbase having moved up to 11th overall and 6th in the Indy Teams’ positions heading into the season finale on the world-famous Brands Hatch GP circuit on September 29/30.
Team Principal David Bartrum:
“An absolutely fantastic set of results. I am so pleased for Sam and the whole team this weekend, finally getting the results that they deserve. Starting with pole in qualifying and then to follow up with two podiums is everything we’ve earned this year.
“Sam has been by far the unluckiest driver on the grid this season and he’s promised a weekend like this so many times this year. A great team effort and a great drive in race one gave him that elusive victory and then to follow it up with another podium in race 2 with full ballast around here shows what he can do. We can now go to Brands with heads held high and hope to do the same again.”
Sam Tordoff #600:
“1st pole, 1st win and a podium on full ballast – there are lots of positives to take away from this weekend. We’ve come away from here with a great points haul and finally got that monkey off our back with the first win in the bag.
“We came into the weekend not best pleased with how the season had gone, but this is what we’ve worked hard for. The car has been fast all year but we’ve not had the luck before now. But we delivered when it mattered and that’s what counts.
“There’s a sense of relief for sure that we’ve finally delivered the perfect result in qualifying and then followed that up with the win and a podium. My favourite circuit, Brands Hatch GP, is up next. We go there ballast free so I have expectations of being on pole again and hopefully we can follow that up with another win to end the season on a high.”