Tom Chilton takes victory in dramatic reverse-grid race at Brands Hatch

Tom Chilton takes victory in dramatic reverse-grid race at Brands Hatch

Photo: PSP Images

Motorbase Performance’s Tom Chilton won the reverse-grid race at Brands Hatch on the opening day of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship season, after starting third on the grid and battling past polesitter Matt Neal.

Chilton led home AmD Tuning’s Rory Butcher, who capped off an impressive day with a maiden podium and Jack Sears Trophy win, ahead of Stephen Jelley who scored his sixth BTCC podium after a frantic battle with Matt Neal.

*UPDATE: Chilton was later handed a post-race five-second penalty, dropping him to second behind Butcher, as a result of contact with Neal.

Neal started from reverse-grid pole and progressed to the lead in the opening third of the race, before his soft tyres deteriorated and Chilton passed him for the lead with a robust move at Clarke Curve.

Neal then had to defend from Jelley before the pair made defending made contact at Graham Hill Bend on lap 16, with the three-time BTCC champion’s rear suspension eventually breaking on the final lap on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend.

That meant Jelley passed him for the podium, as Neal limped home with smoke bellowing from the rear of the car to finish in eighth.

Race one winner Josh Cook continued his form in fourth position, and leaves the opening round as championship leader with a one point advantage over Chilton.

Reigning champion Colin Turkington scored his best result of the day in fifth position ahead of Team BMW stablemate Tom Oliphant, with BTC Racing’s Chris Smiley putting in an impressive late performance to secure seventh at the flag.

Neal’s damaged Honda Civic Type R crossed the line eighth ahead of Aiden Moffat who secured another strong points finish after scoring fourth in the opening encounter.

Tom Ingram defended well on worn soft rubber to round out the top ten, with Adam Morgan finishing just behind in 11th ahead of Jack Goff, who secured his best result in the VW CC in 12th.

Jason Plato salvaged some points from the weekend in 13th after a drive-through penalty in race one hampered his progress throughout the day.

In 14th position was Dan Cammish, with Bobby Thompson just behind securing his third points finish of the day, while Sam Tordoff narrowly missed out on the points in 16th, a DNF in race one ruining his weekend after positive pace in pre-season testing.

After claiming the maiden victory for the BMW 330i M Sport in race two, Andrew Jordan struggled on maximum ballast and soft compound tyres, and was shown the black and orange flag for damage, eventually finishing a lap down.

2017 champion Ash Sutton also came home a lap down after contact with Jake Hill on lap 11 with Jake Hill’s Audi pitched him into the barriers on the entry to Graham Hill Bend.

Sutton’s BMR team-mate Senna Proctor briefly led the final race of the day after jumping Neal into Paddock Hill Bend. Jelley then barged his way past into Druids before Proctor spun at Graham Hill Bend.

The next round of the British Touring Car Championship takes place at Donington Park on the 27/28 April.

Revised race result*

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 6 I Rory BUTCHER Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 24 19:55.879 48.941 4
2 3 I Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 24 3.005 48.938 3
3 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 24 7.926 49.001 6
4 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 10.506 49.076 5
5 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 24 11.967 48.622 14
6 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 24 12.450 48.626 15
7 22 I Chris SMILEY BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 12.677 48.912 20
8 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 12.934 48.919 1
9 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 24 15.226 48.149 17
10 80 M Tom INGRAM Team Toyota GB with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 24 19.664 49.169 7
11 33 I Adam MORGAN Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 24 19.926 48.905 9
12 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 24 20.321 49.158 16
13 11 M Jason PLATO Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 24 20.621 49.145 21
14 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 20.827 49.141 12
15 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 24 21.143 49.485 13
16 600 I Sam TORDOFF Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 24 25.052 49.347 19
17 37 I Rob SMITH Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 24 25.219 49.323 24
18 777 I Michael CREES GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 24 25.690 49.453 23
19 8 I Mark BLUNDELL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 24 27.945 49.631 27
20 28 I Nicolas HAMILTON ROKiT Racing with Motorbase Ford Focus RS 24 35.384 49.482 26
21 303 I Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 35.938 49.176 29
22 18 M Senna PROCTOR Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 24 36.417 49.111 2
23 32 I Daniel ROWBOTTOM Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 24 40.265 49.447 30
24 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 330i M Sport 23 + 1 LAP 48.820 11
25 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 23 + 1 LAP 48.869 10
R 4 I Sam OSBORNE Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 21 DNF 49.802 28
R 24 I Jake HILL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 15 DNF 49.092 8
R 48 I Ollie JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 12 DNF 49.307 18
R 9 M Rob COLLARD Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 10 DNF 49.216 22
R 41 I Carl BOARDLEY RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 3 DNF 51.642 25