Toyota triumphs as Tom Ingram takes double at Thruxton
Toyota star Tom Ingram fired himself into Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship contention with a double victory at Thruxton, before BTC Racing’s Josh Cook put his recent misfortune behind him by winning the finale at the UK’s fastest circuit.
The BTCC title race also took a twist as Team BMW’s Colin Turkington saw his points advantage evaporate during a difficult day, enabling Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton to move to the summit of the standings.
Ingram blasted his Toyota Corolla past pole-sitter Dan Cammish off the line in the opener, before the young duo commenced a race-long duel in Hampshire.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Cammish kept Ingram honest throughout, as he did again in the second bout in a near carbon copy contest, but the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters man held on under intense pressure to claim a hugely impressive win double.
BTCC legend Matt Neal maintained his incredible record of scoring a Thruxton podium every year since 2002, as the Honda man also made the rostrum in each of the first two races.
Cook then headed home team-mate Tom Chilton to score a memorable one-two for BTC Racing, as the former also continued his amazing run of scoring a BTCC victory in each of the last four visits to his local track.
The two Honda Civic Type Rs held station for the entire duration with Cook able to keep Chilton at arm’s length throughout, whilst the main squabble commenced behind them for third.
Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher eventually took the final podium position – just – following an intense battle with both Sutton and Ingram.
The victory represented a huge relief for Cook as the Bath racer has endured a hugely unfortunate start to his BTCC campaign, which recently included a post-race disqualification following an on-the-road victory at Oulton Park and then one of the biggest accidents of his career at Knockhill last time out.
Turkington’s day unravelled early on when his BMW 3 Series suffered a misfire in the opening race, resulting in his first non-points finish of the season. It was damage limitation thereafter for the reigning champion as he recovered to take a 13th and an eighth in the following encounters.
The main beneficiary was Sutton, who performed consistently to score a trio of top-five finishes as he leapfrogged Turkington in the standings.
The 2017 champion now tops the order by 16 points from Turkington with Ingram a further 16 in arrears.
Despite an extremely rare weekend where BMW failed to claim a rostrum position, the German marque still heads both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ tables.
Sutton and his Laser Tools Racing outfit are in command of the Independents’ titles, whilst Cammish heads the Goodyear Wingfoot Award as the highest qualifier during the season so far.
Michael Crees leads the Jack Sears Trophy and also enjoyed a really stellar weekend at Thruxton, which included two top-ten finishes overall.
There is little rest for the BTCC paddock with Rounds 16, 17 and 18 scheduled to take place at Silverstone next weekend (26/27 September).
Tom Ingram said: “I’m well chuffed. If I’m being honest, I didn’t expect to be getting two wins coming into this weekend. I wanted a podium and I wanted to be up there, but I didn’t think I’d get two wins, so full credit to the guys and girls at Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters. We’ve put a hell of a package together this weekend and it feels very exciting. It was a great result and a great weekend for Toyota Gazoo worldwide with the Le Mans win, the WRC win in Argentina and two wins here in the BTCC. It’s been a hell of a day.”