MG_BrandsRnd1_Apr2017-9-540

Tough opening weekend at Brands Hatch

It was a tough weekend for the MG RCIB Insurance Racing team in the opening rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Brands Hatch.

After being left frustrated by rain and red flags in Saturday's qualifying, the debut pair of Árón Taylor-Smith and Daniel Lloyd had no better luck in Sunday's trio of races.

In the eagerly anticipated return of BTCC, there was no shortage of drama right from the off. It took just seconds to see the first incident of the day as Colin Turkington and Matt Neal collided off the line. Starting from P19 and P25, both MGs made decent starts with Taylor-Smith gaining three and Lloyd six places on first lap.

Plucky performances from both drivers saw them gain positions steadily throughout. Irishman, Taylor-Smith, saw the chequered flag in 14th place while Lloyd, who was running in 16th, got bumped on the final lap with the resulting damage seeing him limp across the line in 23rd. Tom Ingram, from second on the grid, won the race to take an early championship lead.

The action-packed racing continued in race two - no sooner than it was underway, it was halted. Jason Plato was involved in an accident off the line which saw him in barriers and fortunately unharmed. Once the race was restarted it was more frustration for both MG drivers.

Lloyd was forced back into the pits on lap 11 after being turned sideways under contact. The damage wasn't critical and rejoined a lap down in 27th and crossed the line in 23rd. Taylor-Smith lost ground after a safety car period but eventually recovered to finish 15th. Back-to-back champion, Gordon Sheddon, took the victory.

Both drivers again showed character in race three as they battled on the soft tyres to finish the day in 12th and 15th. Andrew Jordan held on to take the chequered flag.

The BTCC moves to the midlands in two week's time for the Donington Park rounds.

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