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.
“1st pole, 1st win and a podium on full ballast – there are lots of positives to take away from this weekend;” said Tordoff. “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. We had a great win in race 1 and backed that up with the podium.”
“I knew race 3 was going to be difficult. Everyone on the hard tyre suffered all weekend and had gone backwards. With 57kg on board as well it was always going to be tough but it was kind of a by-the-by after the first two races.
“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.”
Tordoff’s excellent weekend’s results have propelled him into the top 10 in the overall standings and up to 5th place in the Independent Championship heading into the season finale on the world-famous Brands Hatch GP circuit on September 29/30.
“My favourite circuit, Brands Hatch GP, is up next;” concluded Tordoff. “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.”