Josh Cooks charges to opening race win at Brands in changeable conditions

BTC Racing’s Josh Cook was victorious in a slippery opening British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, with the leading BMW’s struggling in the slightly wet conditions.

Rain before the start meant that almost all of the field elected to start the race on wet-weather rubber, but Toyota’s Rory Butcher, starting from ninth, elected to go for all-around slicks – which was nearly a disaster when he almost went into the barriers on the warm-up lap.

At the start, Turkington held the lead from WSR stable-mate Jake Hill, whilst Cook made a fast start to jump to fourth.

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The Honda driver then held that place for half a dozen laps, before springing a move on Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley for third at the start of lap seven. At the same time, Hill was pressuring pole-sitter Colin Turkington for the lead, but the Northern Irishman staved off the attack before pulling clear in the following laps.

Cook continued to close in on Hill, who appeared to have a mid-race slump to fall back from challenging for the lead, and on lap 12 he took a tight line at Clearways to set himself up for a move on Hill at Paddock Hill Bend on the following lap, moving into second.

It only took Cook four laps to close down Turkington’s two-second lead and make a move for the lead at the first corner, with the BMWs clearly struggling on wet tyres as cook relished in the conditions.

Excelr8 Motorsport’s Tom Ingram was caught up in some early race battles with the Ciceley Motorsport BMWs, before settling into fourth, which became third on lap 19 when he followed Hill past Turkington at Clearways.

Hill then ran wide through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend three laps later, gifting Ingram second to allow him to extend his championship lead.

The podium was completed by NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Cammish, who was battling in the lower half of the top ten early in the race before gaining pace as the race came to a close.

Hill slipped to fourth on the penultimate lap, and fifth would have gone to Butcher, but the Scot went wide at Clearways on the last lap and dropped two places.

That meant Turkington could claim fifth, ahead of Ciceley’s Adam Morgan in sixth.

Butcher took the chequered flag in seventh – up from his grid position – ahead of Team Dynamics’ Gordon Shedden in eighth.

The top ten was completed by NAPA Racing’s Ash Sutton, who made up nine places with strong race pace, and the second Dynamics Honda of Daniel Rowbottom.

All 29 drivers finished the race, with only rookie Will Powell not on the lead lap after the Team HARD driver started from the pitlane.

Race two is scheduled to get underway at 14:10 BST.

Race results

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP GD
1 66 I Josh COOK Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 21:44.124 52.218 5
2 80 M Tom INGRAM Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 24 0.802 52.413 6
3 9 M Dan CAMMISH NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 24 4.209 52.330 8
4 24 M Jake HILL ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport 24 5.037 52.109 2
5 50 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport 24 7.691 53.027 1
6 33 I Adam MORGAN Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport 24 10.120 52.882 4
7 6 M Rory BUTCHER Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 24 10.848 49.515 9
8 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civic Type R 24 11.670 52.983 11
9 1 M Ashley SUTTON NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 24 12.509 52.654 18
10 32 M Daniel ROWBOTTOM Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civic Type R 24 14.385 52.831 10
11 97 I Ash HAND CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 24 15.034 52.803 13
12 777 I Michael CREES CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 24 15.344 52.729 17
13 3 M Tom CHILTON Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 24 15.459 52.605 12
14 42 I George GAMBLE Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport 24 16.222 52.600 7
15 123 M Daniel LLOYD Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 24 17.661 52.531 16
16 19 I Bobby THOMPSON Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero CUPRA Leon 24 19.664 52.932 19
17 11 I Jason PLATO Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 20.553 52.740 22
18 99 I Jade EDWARDS Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 28.181 52.725 25
19 96 M Jack BUTEL Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 24 28.884 52.685 27
20 12 M Stephen JELLEY Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport 24 29.631 53.659 3
21 40 I Árón TAYLOR-SMITH Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing CUPRA Leon 24 34.740 52.985 24
22 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 24 35.759 53.860 20
23 48 M Ollie JACKSON Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan Ford Focus ST 24 35.985 54.026 23
24 77 M Sam OSBORNE Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan Ford Focus ST 24 36.219 53.230 21
25 17 I Dexter PATTERSON Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 24 36.748 53.734 15
26 21 M Ricky COLLARD Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 24 40.999 53.615 14
27 28 I Nicolas HAMILTON Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing CUPRA Leon 24 47.763 53.879 26
28 62 I Rick PARFITT JR Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing Infiniti Q50 24 48.505 53.789 28
29 20 I Will POWELL Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero CUPRA Leon 23 1 Lap 52.344 29
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