BTCC: Colin Turkington takes charge at the top
The 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is beginning to take shape with Colin Turkington extending his advantage at the top of the standings following the second event of the season at Brands Hatch.
Whilst the exciting showcase of races provided three different winners, Turkington took a top five treble to preserve his unblemished scoring record so far this season.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish brilliantly won the opener around the legendary 2.43-mile Grand Prix circuit – seemingly banishing his demons from 2019’s last gasp title heartbreak – before misfortune returned for the Yorkshireman, culminating in a zero score for the remainder of the day.
Team BMW star Turkington won the second bout, before team-mate Tom Oliphant produced a memorable maiden triumph in a frenetic finale.
The day commenced with Cammish inheriting victory following late disaster for long-time race one leader Rory Butcher.
The Motorbase Performance Ford Focus of Butcher controlled much of the running – albeit coming under constant pressure from Cammish and reigning champion Turkington – before a late safety car period bunched up the field.
Contact between Matt Neal’s Honda and Aiden Moffat’s Infiniti caused the delay, which ultimately played into Cammish’s hands as Butcher suffered with a puncture immediately after the restart.
An emotional Cammish admitted to shedding a tear as he crossed the line, putting those painful memories from last October behind him, when his title challenge ended in the barrier at Hawthorn Bend.
Turkington settled for second whilst a jubilant Ollie Jackson completed the rostrum. A consolation prize for Motorbase may be, but it will mean much more than that to Jackson as he registered a second career BTCC podium.
Four-time champ Turkington then fended off a feisty Tom Ingram in the second encounter, whilst title rival Cammish hit trouble.
Cammish bogged down from pole position and initially dropped to fourth as Turkington and Ingram took charge at the head of the field, but the Halfords Yuasa Racing man was soon back into third to set up a three-way tussle for supremacy.
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters’ Ingram put Turkington under intense pressure early on but soon had to be cautious with Cammish’s Honda Civic Type R close behind.
The battle ended prematurely, however, as Cammish’s car cut out whilst running through Surtees and the entire field streamed by the stuttering Honda.
Turkington eventually pulled away to take a comfortable win from Ingram, whilst Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton completed the podium.
The story of the race belonged to Butcher as the Motorbase Performance driver roared back from 25th on the grid to take fourth at the finish, eventually passing team-mate Jackson.
Team BMW’s Oliphant claimed a spectacular maiden BTCC victory in a classic finale.
Oliphant made one of the passes of the season so far as he blitzed around the outside of Aiden Moffat and Stephen Jelley on the run down to Paddock Hill Bend to take the lead.
When the dust settled after the early skirmishes, Oliphant had two of the series’ great racers – Sutton and Butcher – directly behind him. With the majority of the contest still remaining, you could be forgiven for thinking that Sutton or Butcher may have made their way through to the front, but Oliphant proved his pace, prowess and professionalism by not putting a wheel wrong.
Sutton tried every which way but Oliphant would not be denied as he crossed the line in front of his delighted West Surrey Racing team – also scoring the 300th podium in the BTCC for WSR.
Tom Oliphant said: “Honestly, it was incredible. The overtake was spectacular around the outside and then having Sutton right behind me the whole race – I couldn’t think of a worse person to be following me. But I just held onto the tyres, knew where I was strong and made sure I got the exits right, and towards the end the car was mega. I can’t quite believe it; I’m over the moon.
At the conclusion of the second race weekend it is Turkington leading the Drivers’ standings, 16 points ahead of Sutton.
Team BMW top the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ orders, whilst Sutton and Laser Tools Racing head both Independents’ categories.
Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Oulton Park on 22/23 August.