BTCC blasts back into action at Donington Park
The 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship got off to a dramatic start this weekend (1/2 August) with Dan Cammish, Colin Turkington and Ash Sutton scoring a win apiece at Donington Park.
The top three qualifiers from Saturday all stood on the top step of the podium during the course of Sunday’s action, which commenced some 294 days after the 2019 season finale.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Cammish claimed victory in the season opener after he got the better of Turkington and Sutton in a ding-dong battle for the lead.
The critical moment of the contest came on lap four as Sutton got the switchback on Team BMW’s Turkington on the exit of the Old Hairpin. The pair touched on the run up to McLeans and Cammish incredibly squeezed by both of them, whilst slight contact from Tom Ingram’s Toyota tapped Turkington’s BMW into Sutton.
When the dust eventually settled Sutton’s car was left stranded on the grass, with Cammish now leading from Turkington and Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher.
Turkington cruised to victory in the second contest as the reigning champion showed his composure and class around the 1.98-mile National Circuit.
The Team BMW star got the jump on pole-sitter Cammish on the run down to Redgate for the first time as the latter struggled slightly with his ballast-laden Honda Civic Type R.
Cammish failed to keep Butcher, Ingram and Oliphant behind him with the trio setting up their own scrap for second and third.
Oliphant was shuffled back again initially but the BMW man would fight back to eventually pass Ingram’s Toyota Corolla to grab third at the finish, whilst Butcher claimed second.
The final race saw Sutton shine as he sped to victory from eighth on the grid.
Sutton scythed his way through to fourth in the early running and was then part of a four-way battle for the lead, which also included Ollie Jackson, Chris Smiley and Josh Cook.
Sutton sailed away with the win in the closing laps, whilst Smiley crossed the finish line just 0.276s ahead of Cook. Sutton’s victory was the first for the Infiniti Q50 and Smiley’s podium was the first podium for the striking Hyundai i30N.
Incredibly for Sutton, he also set the fastest lap in each of the three races, the first time such a feat has been achieved in the BTCC since Gordon Shedden did so at Thruxton back in 2012.
Ash Sutton, Laser Tools Racing, said: “This is just what we needed. The car gives me a hell of a lot of confidence and it’s allowing me to do these things. I’m over the moon with that. As long as we can keep this momentum going, I know I’ve got the best team behind me with Laser Tools Racing and BMR Engineering. I couldn’t ask for a better outfit. The car is absolutely phenomenal. I feel at home in it, it’s the best I’ve ever felt in a car so we’re ticking a lot of boxes here.”
It was a wonderful way to end an incredible day of racing as the BTCC made its long-awaited return to action.
Turkington holds a slender advantage in the early Drivers’ standings from Cammish, Sutton and Butcher, whilst Team BMW also top the Teams’ standings.
Rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Brands Hatch on 8/9 August.
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Donington Park
1 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing 19 laps
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.707s
3 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +1.144s
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Donington Park
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW 19 laps
2 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +2.199s
3 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +2.610s
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Donington Park
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing 17 laps
2 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.280s
3 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +2.556s