BTCC – Josh Cooks up a storm at Croft as Ingram mounts title bid
BTC Racing’s Josh Cook claimed a commanding double win, before Toyota star Tom Ingram took victory in the final contest, as a number of title contenders hit trouble during an extraordinary day of Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship action at Croft.
Cook kicked off proceedings with two lights-to-flag victories – following his pole position on Saturday – as the Bath racer finally enjoyed a trouble-free weekend in his Honda Civic Type R.
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters’ Ingram then bounced back from his qualifying disappointment to take a fully deserved triumph in the final bout.
A trio of title protagonists – Colin Turkington, Ash Sutton and Rory Butcher – all endured drama at the North Yorkshire circuit as the race for the championship continues to build towards an exciting climax.
Cook fended off a determined effort from MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill to claim success in the opener.
Hill and Cook went side-by-side on one occasion, before going on to trade fastest laps, but the latter held on as the lead duo pulled clear of Turkington’s BMW.
Turkington’s trip to the podium was to be the high point of an otherwise dismal day for the Northern Irishman, as a mechanical issue in the final bout followed an uncharacteristic off in race two.
Cook was then deservedly awarded the race two win amid a frenetic encounter.
Last lap contact between Cook and three-time champion Matt Neal looked to have handed the latter his first victory since his ‘Diamond Double’ success at Snetterton in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, however, the incident was reviewed post-race and the positions were subsequently reversed with Neal’s over-zealous move being deemed as gaining an unfair advantage.
Cook’s impressive double was just one of many stories during this barnstormer of a race, which commenced with reigning champion Turkington out-braking himself into turn one and ending up in the gravel.
With Turkington out of the bout, the title pendulum swung back towards Laser Tools Racing’s Sutton, who was pressuring both Cook and Hill ahead of him.
The Infiniti Q50 driver attempted to squeeze down the inside of Hill’s Honda at the final hairpin on lap six and the pair made contact, forcing the #116 machine to pit with a puncture.
Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher had also spun out of contention on the opening tour, although the Ford man was able to score a single point for setting the fastest lap after he’d returned to the action.
Hill took his second successive rostrum, which was part of the Kent driver’s impressive weekend overall.
Ingram then rounded off a breathless weekend by winning the final race, completing Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters’ story of redemption having started the opening contest from the back of the grid.
The 27-year-old grabbed pole position on the road during yesterday’s qualifying session, only for his Toyota Corolla to fail post-session ride height checks, resulting in a charge through the order during race day.
He surged from 25th to 13th in the first race before a hugely impressive fourth place in the next one, but it was his performance in the finale that will live long in the memory for the Bucks ace.
Starting from third on the grid, Ingram blasted by Dan Cammish’s Honda Civic Type R off the line and shortly after, he was making a sensational pass by BTC Racing’s Tom Chilton on the run towards Sunny In.
Cammish closed in after he eventually passed Chilton with a similar move, but time ran out before the #27 machine could really make a concerted attack and the victory went to the Speedworks Motorsport squad.
Chilton completed the podium positions ahead of Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal and the phenomenal Sutton – the championship leader having made up a total of 15 places.
Honda’s Cammish was the main beneficiary on a manic day as a trio of top ten finishes increased his hopes of winning the UK’s most coveted motorsport crown, whilst Ingram’s victory fired him back into contention.
Sutton now leads by seven points from Cammish, with Turkington a further five in arrears. Ingram is 29 points off the summit with 134 still to play for.
Team BMW leads both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ tables, whilst Sutton and Laser Tools Racing still hold the advantage for both Independents’ honours.
GKR TradePriceCars.com’s Bobby Thompson tops the Jack Sears Trophy despite his Audi S3 enduring a frightening barrel roll in the final race.
The Essex man had starred earlier in the day with two impressive eighth-place finishes, as he diced with BTCC champions and multiple race winners.
He was then running in the pack early on in race three when his car slid off-track and rolled several times at high speed before coming to rest on its roof. Despite the violent nature of the accident it was of great relief to see the 24-year-old emerge from the wreckage without any visible injuries of note.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship now travels to Snetterton in Norfolk for its penultimate event on the 24/25 October.
Josh Cook said: “The team has just done such a fantastic job this weekend, having come from Silverstone where we struggled. We led every lap in race one, P1 and the fastest lap too. Then we had another really good race with maximum ballast in the next one. I’m gutted that we didn’t get to experience that second win across the line as I think we all deserved it. I’m really happy for the team, it’s mine and the team’s first double win – it has been a good weekend.”
Tom Ingram said: “I think the day has surprised us. From starting back in Darlington this morning, to finishing race three with a win, and I’m so, so happy. It just goes to show that you can never get down in the BTCC; the day can turn around. You’ve just got to stay positive because it’s amazing what you can drag back from seemingly nowhere. I’m so, so pleased with how we’ve done as a team today.”
Jake Hill said: “After our start to the year it’s all about podiums and wins. This is the first time ever that I’ve scored two podiums in a weekend so it’s a right result! I think I used nine lives in one go in the opening laps of race one and race two was a great result for me too – it was a really hard, fair race. It’s been my best weekend ever and I just absolutely love the way the team and the car are going at the minute.”
Ash Sutton said: “As much as it’s good for you folks at home, and I love [the recovery drives] to bits, I’m making life very hard for myself. The car was mega, the Laser Tools Infiniti guys have done an absolutely amazing job and BMR Engineering have delivered me a car that allowed me to get there, and it’s all worked in our favour.”
Dan Cammish said: “Such a rollercoaster weekend, it can change so fast, you come here thinking you are going to have a tough day and you end up having a pretty strong one. My qualifying was pretty poor but I brought it back through the field. We’ve had a good haul of points so I’m pretty happy with my day, though disappointed with second in race three as I thought I could have won it.”
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Croft
1 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing 15 laps
2 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.653s
3 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +3.573s
4 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +10.348s
5 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +10.592s
6 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +13.245s
7 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +13.436s
8 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +16.909s
9 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +17.248s
10 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +17.663s
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Croft
1 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing 16 laps
2 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.171s
3 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.635s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +1.087s
5 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +4.673s
6 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +8.164s
7 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +8.346s
8 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +8.960s
9 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +14.044s
10 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +14.944s
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Croft
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters 18 laps
2 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.278s
3 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +5.001s
4 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +6.453s
5 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +6.472s
6 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +7.129s
7 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +8.099s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +8.548s
9 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +10.235s
10 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +10.435s