Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish benefitted from a front-left tyre puncture for polesitter Rory Butcher to win the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch.
Butcher had looked set to convert pole position into a maiden win for the new-for-2020 Ford Focus ST, fending off pressure from Cammish in the first half of the race, but the puncture after a late safety car restart left him plummeting down the order.
It was the 2019 runner-up who inherited the lead as the Scot’s tyre deflated on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend on the penultimate lap, while his title rival Colin Turkington jumped up to second behind.
Giving some consolation for Motorbase Performance at their home race was Ollie Jackson, who took his second-ever BTCC podium in third position to follow up on his best qualifying result yesterday.
As the lights went out, Turkington used his rear-wheel drive traction to leapfrog Jake Hill for fourth position, while a brush between Cammish and Jackson allowed the Northern Irishman to jump the second Motorbase Ford and take third.
Ahead, Cammish looked to have superior pace in the opening half of the race but would drop back at the start of the final third to cool his brakes to avoid a repeat of the 2019 season finale.
On the 12th tour, the safety car was then called as Cammish’s team-mate Matt Neal tangled with Aiden Moffat as the pair battled for 18th position.
Moffat had been battling with Chris Smiley’s Hyundai, leaving him wide on the entry to Hawthorns, and the pair tangled as Neal looked down the inside before the spinning Infiniti collected him and put him in the barriers on the entry to Westfield.
That neutralised the race in what would be the only safety car period, leaving just a two lap dash to the flag to conclude the opening contest.
Initially Butcher enjoyed a strong restart but would suffer the same fate as he did in second practice with the front-left Goodyear tyre letting go.
Enjoying great pace in fourth position was Tom Ingram after a race-long battle with Jake Hill before eventually getting through on lap twelve before the latter fell down the running order.
He held off BTC Racing’s Tom Chilton in fifth, while Ash Sutton made steady progress throughout the race from his grid position of 14th to end the race in sixth.
Sutton finished ahead of former team-mate Senna Proctor in the best of the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundais, while Tom Oliphant recovered well to finish eighth after contact with Josh Cook on the opening lap causing a grassy moment at Westfield.
The older BMW of Stephen Jelley placed ninth, while Hill eventually ended up completing the top ten, a disappointing result for the local racer considering the pace he enjoyed across practice and qualifying yesterday.
Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan was next in 11th, while Michael Crees managed 12th ahead of Trade Price Cars Racing duo of James Gornall and Bobby Thompson in 13th and 14th positions respectively.
The final points-paying position was occupied by Chris Smiley’s Hyundai, while Butcher eventually joined Matt Neal in the list of runners who failed to finish.
The second race of the day at a scorching Brands Hatch is scheduled to get underway at 13:30 BST.
|1||27||M||Dan CAMMISH||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||18||30:54.268||1:31.994||2|
|2||1||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||18||0.812||1:32.179||5|
|3||48||I||Ollie JACKSON||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||18||1.994||1:32.357||3|
|4||80||M||Tom INGRAM||Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters||Toyota Corolla||18||2.341||1:32.104||8|
|5||3||I||Tom CHILTON||BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||18||2.820||1:32.077||10|
|6||116||I||Ashley SUTTON||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||18||2.965||1:32.242||14|
|7||18||I||Senna PROCTOR||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||5.273||1:32.223||7|
|8||15||M||Tom OLIPHANT||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||18||5.587||1:32.672||6|
|9||12||I||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||18||5.745||1:32.862||12|
|10||24||I||Jake HILL||MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square||Honda Civic Type-R||18||6.917||1:32.072||4|
|11||32||I||Adam MORGAN||Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||18||7.121||1:32.654||13|
|12||777||I||Michael CREES||The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||18||7.652||1:32.817||18|
|13||180||I||James GORNALL||GKR TradePriceCars.com||Audi S3||18||9.038||1:32.829||20|
|14||19||I||Bobby THOMPSON||GKR TradePriceCars.com||Audi S3||18||9.545||1:32.750||17|
|15||22||I||Chris SMILEY||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||10.434||1:33.246||15|
|16||41||I||Carl BOARDLEY||Team HARD.||BMW 125i M Sport||18||10.598||1:33.057||22|
|17||31||I||Jack GOFF||RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport||Volkswagen CC||18||11.087||1:32.951||19|
|18||16||I||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||18||11.317||1:32.857||21|
|19||44||I||Andy NEATE||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||18||12.321||1:33.545||23|
|20||34||I||Ollie BROWN||RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport||Volkswagen CC||18||13.595||1:34.176||24|
|21||66||I||Josh COOK||BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||18||13.820||1:31.942||9|
|22||28||I||Nicolas HAMILTON||ROKiT Racing with Team HARD.||Volkswagen CC||18||19.974||1:34.091||25|
|23||32||I||Jack BUTEL||Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||18||20.161||1:34.192||26|
|24||4||I||Sam OSBORNE||MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square||Honda Civic Type-R||17||+ 1 LAP||1:32.754||16|
|R||6||I||Rory BUTCHER||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||15||DNF||1:31.996||1|
|R||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||11||DNF||1:32.989||11|