Josh Cook fends off early pressure from Jake Hill to convert pole to victory in Croft opener

BTC Racing’s Josh Cook converted pole position into victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, after soaking up early pressure from Jake Hill.

Cook managed a great getaway in his FK8 Honda Civic Type R, while Hill’s older FK2 Honda struggled off the line and initially lost out to the BMW duo of Colin Turkington and Tom Oliphant.

The MB Motorsport racer then held his line around the outside at Clervaux, regaining back second position ahead of Turkington’s BMW 330i M Sport as the pair headed into the chicane for the first time.

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Later in the lap it was Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton who looked to get past the BMW pair, successfully passing Oliphant before pressurising title rival Turkington for third position.

The battle was shortlived, however, as Sutton was tagged into a spin by Rory Butcher’s Motorbase Ford, who had been completing a move on Oliphant as the pack headed into the complex.

The contact sent Sutton into a complete spin with Oliphant also dropping out of the top ten positions, before the former was able to recover sensationally back into the top five as he scythed through the pack in his Infiniti Q50.

Completing the podium at the end of the 15-lap encounter was reigning champion Turkington who spent the majority of the contest in splendid isolation, while Butcher eventually finished fourth some five seconds behind.

2017 champion Sutton managed a damage limitation recovery drive in fifth – leaving both him and Turkington tied on 248 points at the top of the standings – while Cook’s BTC Racing team-mate Tom Chilton placed sixth at the flag.

Fellow FK8 Honda Civic racer Matt Neal was behind Chilton in the best of the Team Dynamics entries, while Bobby Thompson managed an impressive eighth position despite having bodywork rubbing on the front-right tyre of his Audi S3 in the early stages.

In ninth position was Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan, while title contender Dan Cammish could only manage 10th in the second of the Halfords Yuasa Racing Hondas.

Next was Team BMW’s Oliphant in 11th, who failed to recover after having to take avoiding action to avoid Sutton’s spinning Infiniti on the opening lap, while Excelr8 Motorsport’s Chris Smiley came home 12th in the best of the Hyundais.

An effective recovery drive from Tom Ingram after losing pole position yesterday and starting from the back of the grid saw him finish 13th in the Toyota Corolla, while Silverstone race winner Ollie Jackson finished 14th ahead of Stephen Jelley’s BMW 125i M Sport.

The second British Touring Car Championship race at Croft is scheduled to get underway at 14:29 BST.

Race result

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 15 20:58.839 1:22.464 1
2 24 I Jake HILL MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type-R 15 0.653 1:22.561 2
3 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 15 3.573 1:22.565 3
4 6 I Rory BUTCHER Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 15 8.592 1:23.047 10
5 116 I Ashley SUTTON Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 15 10.348 1:22.669 6
6 3 I Tom CHILTON BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 15 13.245 1:23.192 7
7 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R 15 13.436 1:23.109 8
8 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 15 16.909 1:23.353 5
9 32 I Adam MORGAN Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class 15 17.248 1:23.229 12
10 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R 15 17.663 1:23.143 14
11 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 15 17.89 1:23.035 4
12 22 I Chris SMILEY Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N 15 21.148 1:23.731 13
13 80 M Tom INGRAM Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 15 21.553 1:22.781 24
14 48 I Ollie JACKSON Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 15 23.441 1:23.542 11
15 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 15 23.748 1:23.443 16
16 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 15 25.347 1:23.298 15
17 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 15 27.187 1:23.815 18
18 18 I Senna PROCTOR Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N 15 27.663 1:23.837 25
19 21 I Mike BUSHELL RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 15 28.22 1:23.900 20
20 41 I Carl BOARDLEY Team HARD. BMW 125i M Sport 15 40.219 1:23.452 19
21 44 I Andy NEATE Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 15 55.454 1:24.860 21
22 777 I Michael CREES The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 14 1 Lap 1:23.144 9
R 32 I Jack BUTEL Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class 11 DNF 1:24.081 22
R 28 I Nicolas HAMILTON ROKiT Racing with Team HARD. Volkswagen CC 6 DNF 1:27.371 23
R 4 I Sam OSBORNE MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type-R 4 DNF 1:27.513 17
NS 29 I Jac CONSTABLE Power Maxed Car Care Racing Vauxhall Astra 0 DNS N/A

BTCC points deficit after Round 19
Graphic: TouringCars.Net

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