Excelr8 Motorsport’s Tom Ingram eased to victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, allowing him to move to the top of the drivers’ championship standings.
Ingram had to manage two safety car restarts in a race which ultimately had almost half the distance behind the safety car, with a number of incidents involving Team HARD cars requiring recovery.
At the start, Ingram quickly pulled into a clear lead over Toyota’s Rory Butcher, with Ash Sutton holding third as NAPA Racing UK team-mate Dan Cammish found himself on the outside line at Druids and dropping three places, crucially behind MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill.
Hill had earlier made light contact with Sutton away from the line, as the two NAPA Fords sought to close the gap on the fast-starting BMW, although the damage turned out to be superficial for the WSR driver.
On the Grand Prix loop, Power Maxed Racing’s Ash Hand made contact with the rear of Árón Taylor-Smith’s CUPRA, spinning the Irishman into the barriers and out of the race.
That necessitated a four-lap safety car neutralisation, and when racing resumed on lap six it was only for two laps before another intervention when Rick Parfitt Jr and Carl Boardley came together at Hawthorns corner.
Racing resumed for good on lap 12, with Hill piling pressure onto Sutton, who had lost his turbo early on in the race.
That meant Sutton quickly fell back from Ingram and Butcher, acting as a ‘cork in a bottle’ for the chasing pack.
Hill tried to take third at Druids, but Bobby Thompson was able to move inside, dropping Hill briefly to fifth, before he reclaimed the place at Dingle Dell.
Hill again tapped the ailing Sutton at Druids on the next lap, and this time lost three places to Thompson, Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington.
Hill quickly re-passed Turkington and two laps later took fourth back from Morgan, bringing him back onto the tail of Sutton.
This time it took just one lap to get past the reigning champion, diving through at Sheene corner, as Morgan also tapped the rear of Sutton’s car into a huge slide.
But at the front Ingram secured a crucial win by half a second from Butcher, moving the Hyundai driver into the championship lead by three points.
Hill completed the podium, as Sutton masterfully held on to fourth, leaving him in second in the standings.
Turkington went around the outside of fellow BMW racer Morgan at Turn 1 for fifth on the penultimate lap, with Morgan coming home in sixth.
Thompson was seventh, ahead of the second Ciceley BMW of George Gamble in eighth.
The top ten was completed by NAPA’s Cammish and Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley, the latter having acted as a solid rear-guard for Turkington until the lap after the last restart when he dropped back.
BTC Racing’s Josh Cook had gained a place on the opening lap to progress to eighth, but as he tried to get by Cammish on the first lap of the first restart he lost out to the two Team BMW cars, ultimately finishing as the best-placed Honda driver in 11th.
Team Dynamics’ Gordon Shedden retired after 13 laps, having been forced wide onto the grass at Stirlings corner whilst running in 12th.
Also retiring were Laser Tools Racing’s Dexter Patterson, who had gone wide on the opening lap following contact with Turkington, before making contact with Motorbase’s Ollie Jackson later in the race, breaking the latter’s rear suspension.
His Motorbase team-mate Sam Osborne also retired after going off into the gravel two laps from the end.
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 14:30 BST.
|1||80||M||Tom INGRAM||Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||32:40.611||1:31.293||1|
|2||6||M||Rory BUTCHER||Toyota GAZOO Racing UK||Toyota Corolla GR Sport||18||0.581||1:31.306||2|
|3||24||M||Jake HILL||ROKiT MB Motorsport||BMW 330e M Sport||18||8.644||1:31.916||5|
|4||1||M||Ashley SUTTON||NAPA Racing UK||Ford Focus ST||18||10.408||1:32.035||3|
|5||50||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 330e M Sport||18||10.524||1:31.518||10|
|6||33||I||Adam MORGAN||Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport||BMW 330e M Sport||18||10.779||1:31.814||8|
|7||19||I||Bobby THOMPSON||Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero||CUPRA Leon||18||11.190||1:31.870||6|
|8||42||I||George GAMBLE||Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport||BMW 330e M Sport||18||11.504||1:31.904||13|
|9||9||M||Dan CAMMISH||NAPA Racing UK||Ford Focus ST||18||12.259||1:31.381||4|
|10||12||M||Stephen JELLEY||Team BMW||BMW 330e M Sport||18||12.728||1:31.623||11|
|11||66||I||Josh COOK||Rich Energy BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type R||18||12.795||1:31.706||9|
|12||32||M||Daniel ROWBOTTOM||Halfords Racing with Cataclean||Honda Civic Type R||18||13.199||1:32.244||15|
|13||123||M||Daniel LLOYD||Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||13.690||1:32.434||12|
|14||21||M||Ricky COLLARD||Toyota GAZOO Racing UK||Toyota Corolla GR Sport||18||13.974||1:32.333||18|
|15||16||I||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||18||14.764||1:32.560||19|
|16||3||M||Tom CHILTON||Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||17.040||1:32.744||22|
|17||11||I||Jason PLATO||Rich Energy BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type R||18||17.488||1:32.762||17|
|18||97||I||Ash HAND||CarStore Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||18||19.234||1:32.655||16|
|19||96||M||Jack BUTEL||Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||20.059||1:32.769||25|
|20||777||I||Michael CREES||CarStore Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||18||24.602||1:32.834||20|
|21||28||I||Nicolas HAMILTON||Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing||CUPRA Leon||18||25.509||1:33.627||29|
|22||99||I||Jade EDWARDS||Rich Energy BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type R||16||+ 2 LAPS||1:33.024||24|
|R||77||M||Sam OSBORNE||Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan||Ford Focus ST||16||DNF||1:33.123||27|
|R||48||M||Ollie JACKSON||Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan||Ford Focus ST||14||DNF||1:33.030||23|
|R||17||I||Dexter PATTERSON||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||14||DNF||1:32.845||7|
|R||52||M||Gordon SHEDDEN||Halfords Racing with Cataclean||Honda Civic Type R||13||DNF||1:33.439||14|
|R||62||I||Rick PARFITT JR||Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing||Infiniti Q50||6||DNF||1:33.709||28|
|R||41||I||CarL BOARDLEY||Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero||CUPRA Leon||6||DNF||1:33.665||26|
|R||40||I||Árón TAYLOR-SMITH||Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing||CUPRA Leon||0||DNF||N/A||21|