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Tom Ingram claims maiden victory in thrilling season opener

Tom Ingram claimed an impressive first race victory after a frantic and action-packed opening round to the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with the Speedworks Motorsport driver leading home defending champion Gordon Shedden and his team-mate Matt Neal at Brands Hatch.

It was Ingram who led the field away on their two green flag laps after securing his maiden pole position during qualifying on Saturday, and the Speedworks Motorsport driver made a good getaway, retaining the lead into Paddock ahead of the Halfords Yuasa Racing duo of Shedden and Neal, but further back it was a disaster for Sam Tordoff, who lost places off the start and then spun after contact with team-mate Collard into Surtees. Meanwhile, the Eurotech Type-R of Martin Depper went off at Druids.

Colin Turkington also hit strife into Graham Hill bend, half-spinning his Subaru Levorg onto the grass, whilst Alex Martin clashed with Hunter Abbott and the former spun backwards heading down Cooper Straight and made contact with the barrier. The safety car was called as a result of the debris , though a late challenge for the lead by Shedden into Clearways left Ingram scampering for the safety car line.

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A characteristically feisty Josh Cook made contact into Clearways with Adam Morgan and relegated the Mercedes A-Class to 7th, before Aron Smith and Collard followed the MG charger through and send Morgan further down the order into Paddock. Jeff Smith also pulled off a fantastic move into Paddock on the inside line to put himself through into 11th ahead of his former team-mate and 2013 champion, Andrew Jordan.

The initial progress for the quartet of brand-new Team BMR Subaru Levorgs was slow, with Jason Plato finally passing Stewart Lines for 22nd at roughly half-distance. Along with Turkington’s troubles, which saw him already being lapped by this stage, James Cole, the only other running car after problems for Warren Scott, was running in 29th and near last.

As Ingram and Shedden began to pull away at the front, the main battle was between Ashley Sutton and Jack Goff for 4th. Sutton ran wide into Clearways and the Team IHG Rewards Club racer took to the inside, but the reigning Clio Cup champion was able to hold station. Goff then ran wide at Paddock Hill bend and allowed Sutton’s team-mate, Cook, to push him down to 6th. Hunter Abbott was also in strife, slowing down across the start/finish line after contact with Ollie Jackson.

The race entered a notably calm phase as the laps ticked away, with Ingram maintaining a slight margin over the defending champion Shedden at the front. Then the action resumed once more in typical fashion. Aron Smith passed Jack Goff, before Collard took the outside line and swooped in front of them both. The loss of momentum for Goff allowed Morgan and Jackson to also slip past the one-time race winner, with a rapid Jeff Smith now filling the mirrors of the BMW 125i M-Sport.

Then disaster struck for Smith, who outbraked himself and went into the gravel at Clearways, dropping the Eurotech team principal back down to 15th, though still in the points. The incident meant Jake Hill, who is finally running a full season with Team. HARD, moved up into a notable 13th.

That would prove to be the last of the drama, however, as Ingram crossed the line by a margin of 2.284 seconds to take his first win in the series.
Race result

1 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 27 23:44.664 48.746 1
2 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 27 2.284 48.764 2
3 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 27 3.925 48.770 3
4 116 M Ashley SUTTON MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 27 6.07 48.894 5
5 66 M Josh COOK MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 27 6.423 48.860 6
6 100 C Rob COLLARD Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 27 7.908 48.929 12
7 40 Árón SMITH BKR Volkswagen CC 27 10.314 48.895 10
8 7 Mat JACKSON Motorbase Performance Ford Focus 27 11.72 48.961 9
9 33 Adam MORGAN WIX Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 27 13.495 49.085 7
10 31 C Jack GOFF Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport 27 13.615 48.720 8
11 77 Andrew JORDAN Motorbase Performance Ford Focus 27 14.596 49.348 14
12 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 27 18.504 49.260 17
13 24 Jake HILL RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis 27 18.769 49.290 19
14 55 Jeff SMITH Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 27 22.825 48.959 13
15 17 Dan WELCH Goodestone Racing Proton Persona 27 24.456 49.112 25
16 600 C Sam TORDOFF Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 27 24.64 48.830 4
17 303 Matt SIMPSON Speedworks Motorsport Honda Civic Type R 27 24.953 49.370 24
18 57 M Andy NEATE Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 27 25.157 49.290 18
19 30 Martin DEPPER Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 27 28.708 49.431 16
20 12 Mike EPPS RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis 27 29.142 49.531 26
21 99 M Jason PLATO Subaru Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT 27 30.142 49.483 23
22 95 Stewart LINES Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 27 44.497 50.272 30
23 38 Mark HOWARD BKR Volkswagen CC 27 49.253 50.192 31
24 22 Chris SMILEY TLC Racing Toyota Avensis 26 1 Lap 49.935 28
25 20 M James COLE Subaru Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT 25 2 Laps 49.608 29
R 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Subaru Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT 20 7 Laps 49.296 11
R 84 Kelvin FLETCHER Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze 17 10 Laps 49.672 32
R 53 Hunter ABBOTT Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze 14 13 Laps 49.332 21
R 48 Ollie JACKSON AmD Tuning Audi S3 13 14 Laps 49.563 20
R 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 3 24 Laps 51.702 15
R 14 Alex MARTIN Dextra Racing with Team Parker Ford Focus 2 25 Laps 51.825 22
R 39 M Warren SCOTT Subaru Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT 0 27 Laps N/A 27

Complete race results

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