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Tom Ingram fends off Ash Sutton for opening Oulton Park win

EXCELR8 Motorsport’s Tom Ingram scored a lights-to-flag victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park, although not without a controversial incident with NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton.

All of the top seven drivers elected to start the race on the soft tyre, with Power Maxed Racing’s Árón Taylor-Smith and Speedworks Motorsport’s Josh Cook the only drivers in the top ten to choose to run the harder rubber. The rest of the field, save for Nick Halstead, went with hard tyres for the opening race.

At the start, Ingram made the most of his pole position to hold the lead away from the lights, as behind him BMW’s Colin Turkington failed to get away from ninth on the grid.

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By the time Turkington’s car was pushed into the pitlane, the leaders had almost completed the opening lap, with Sutton all over the back of the leading Hyundai.

Going into the Island hairpin on lap two Sutton went to make a move on the inside of Ingram, with the two making slight contact.

The pair then ran side-by-side into the chicane, Sutton on the inside but Ingram fractionally ahead on the outside, where a further tap resulted in Ingram cutting across the grass, but crucially holding on to first.

Thereafter, Ingram was able to keep enough of a margin to prevent Sutton having another look, going on to record his 30th BTCC win and the third of his season by just under two seconds from the Ford driver.

NAPA’s Dan Cammish completed the podium in third, distant from the leading duo but comfortably ahead of the squabbling cars behind.

Daniel Rowbottom crossed the finish line in fourth, but the NAPA driver had been shown the black-and-orange flag three laps from the finish due to a flapping right-rear wheel arch.

That meant Rowbottom should have pitted to have the issue dealt with, but he continued on track ahead of the BMW of Adam Morgan, leaving the issue to be resolved post-race. Stwards decided that Rowbottom should have pitted, and he was given a post-race 30-second penalty, dropping him to 15th.

Morgan was therefore fourth and the leading BMW driver, ahead of Laser Tools Racing’s Jake Hill in fifth. Hill, however, had run in fourth, having gained two places away from the line and passed Tom Chilton on lap three, but he gave the place away when he locked his brakes into the hairpin on lap nine and ceded ground to Rowbottom and Morgan.

Chilton took sixth, losing three places in two laps early on, the EXCELR8 driver having admitted to adopting a somewhat ‘loose’ setup for the race.

Taylor-Smith brought his Vauxhall home in seventh – one place ahead of where he started thanks to Rowbottom’s penalty – as the leading hard compound driver.

Speedworks duo Josh Cook and Aiden Moffat were ninth and tenth respectively, once again out-performing the factory-backed Toyotas.

Rob Huff followed his Toyota stablemates home to complete th top ten, whilst Power Maxed’s Mikey Doble was 11th – although at the chequered flag the place had been held by Toyota’s Andrew Watson, but he was given a five second time penalty for a false start, meaning he was classified in 14th.

Unlimited Motorsport’s Daryl DeLeon and Restart Racing’s Scott Sumpton also received time penalties of ten seconds for false starts, dropping them to 18th and 19th respectively, although Sumpton would have finished there anyway after a pitstop.

WSR mechanics managed to get Turkington’s car started in the pitlane and the Northern Irishman could do nothing other than finish 20th and last, two laps down.

Race two is scheduled to get underway at 14:40 BST.

Revised race result

1 80 M Tom INGRAM BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 15 21:39.143 1:25.742 1
2 1 M Ashley SUTTON NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 15 1.913 1:25.885 2
3 27 M Dan CAMMISH NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 15 4.557 1:25.358 3
4 33 M Adam MORGAN Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport 15 10.230 1:25.973 6
5 24 M Jake HILL Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport 15 14.700 1:25.901 7
6 3 M Tom CHILTON BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 15 16.238 1:26.405 4
7 40 I Árón TAYLOR-SMITH Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 15 26.078 1:27.058 8
8 66 M Josh COOK LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 26.646 1:27.344 10
9 16 M Aiden MOFFAT LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 30.817 1:27.538 12
10 12 M Rob HUFF TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 31.366 1:27.519 11
11 88 I Mikey DOBLE Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 15 35.664 1:27.561 13
12 14 M Ronan PEARSON BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 15 37.165 1:27.175 15
13 222 I Chris SMILEY Restart Racing CUPRA Leon 15 37.944 1:27.760 16
14 11 M Andrew WATSON TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 39.218 1:27.623 14
15 32 M Daniel ROWBOTTOM NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 15 39.858 1:25.626 5
16 77 M Sam OSBORNE NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST 15 40.996 1:28.026 17
17 22 M Nick HALSTEAD BRISTOL STREET MOTORS Hyundai i30 N Fastback 15 50.082 1:27.998 20
18 18 I Daryl DELEON Duckhams Racing with Bartercard CUPRA Leon 15 51.842 1:27.948 18
19 29 I Scott SUMPTON Restart Racing CUPRA Leon 15 1:34.773 1:28.236 19
20 20 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport 14 + 1 LAP 1:25.627 9
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