It is always a worry when the red flag flutters during an on-track session. When the opening free practice session was stopped at Snetterton’s round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship two weekends ago, the paddock collectively held its breath.
News filtered back to the pit lane that reigning champion Andrew Jordan had hit the tyre wall at the opening corner, Riches.
His Pirtek Honda Civic had run wide and as Jordan attempted to come off the brakes and make the high-speed right-hander he had run on to the grass. The Civic swapped ends and hit the barrier backwards.
When the doctors got to him, they were concerned. He had taken a blow to the head and they asked him to recite his address and date of birth. Jordan wasn’t able to recall either of them and so was taken to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital suffering from concussion.
He arrived back at the circuit on Saturday afternoon, in time for qualifying, but the medics advised him not to drive. His father Mike, who had driven him back to the track from the hospital agreed that his son shouldn’t drive – he’d asked the same question of his dad three times in two minutes on the return journey.
When the racing began on Sunday Jordan should have started from the back of the 31-car grid but, fearing being caught up in a mid-pack accident, he opted to begin from the pit lane.
He raced through the pack to 16th – an impressive feat given the level of competitiveness in the BTCC this season – but there was more drama to follow.
In race two, he was running in tenth place when he was caught up in a three-wide accident at the end of the main Bentley Straight. Jordan spun down to 22nd but continued. However, exhaust damage from the crash meant fumes were leaking into the cabin and the defending champion was being slowly poisoned.
He made it to the flag in 15th – his only point scored of the weekend – but when Jordan returned to the pit lane afterwards he couldn’t get out of the car. He was seriously ill and, for the second time over the weekend, he required a trip to the medical centre. He was ruled out of the third race.
The fact he managed to get to the end at all was a miracle, but it means he will now need another miracle to get back to the top of the championship points. He is 78 points adrift with 12 races remaining, behind the BMW 125i M Sport of Northern Irishman Colin Turkington and Jason Plato (MG6) – but the 25-year-old had a stark warning for his rivals.
Recovering after the weekend, Jordan said: “For the last couple of seasons, I have been protecting a points total and aiming for finishes. Now I am so far behind, there is only one thing I can do – and that is go flat out for wins. I will be off the hook and, if I am honest, that is the way I prefer to drive. The championship is a long shot but it certainly isn’t over.”