29 September 2019
Hats off to “Cobra Drivers” Tom Ingram and Jack Goff: Tom won the first two races of the day at Silverstone, while Jack took the chequered flag in the third.
It proved to be an extraordinary days racing with drivers using Cobra seats taking seven of the nine podium positions and ending the day in all top six positions in the BTCC Drivers Championship.
It was a day of high drama, with Colin Turkington’s Championship lead evaporating completely by the middle of the third race and then the fates conspiring to see him end the day with an extended lead as we head towards the traditional end of season showdown at Brands Hatch.
Race one set the standard with Tom Ingram claiming the first of his brace of victories while, in his wake, a spin for Colin Turkington split the title race wide open.
Starting fourth on the grid, the superior set-up of the Toyota Corolla in low-grip conditions allowed Ingram to climb three places and win by more than four seconds.
Ingram showed his intent on lap one and by Copse he had already moved up to third at the expense of fellow “Cobra driver” Tom Oliphant. Then a robust move through Brooklands on Neal promoted Ingram to second, before an audacious move through Luffield rocketed him to first.
Meanwhile Championship leader Colin Turkington had lined up sixth on the grid, eight places ahead of closest title rival and WSR team-mate Andrew Jordan, but by lap six, Turkington had dropped to 11th and – obviously struggling – was then overtaken by Jordan. Worse was to follow when a spin dropped him to 25th, before a concerted damage limitation exercise worthy of a champion saw him climb back into the points with a 14th place at the flag.
Life was no easier – or predictable - for Andrew Jordan who finished eighth on the road after a robust move on Chilton only to see the move punished with a 6 second penalty that moved him down to tenth.
The third “Cobra driver” in the Championship showdown fared no better: Dan Cammish had lined up seventh on the grid but, like stablemate Matt Neal, the Team Dynamics cars struggled in the damp and Cammish finished 11th.
That meant after Race One Turkington’s Championship lead had been cut to five points over Dan Cammish with Andrew Jordan only one point further back.
With the Championship leaders all struggling, it left room for yet more drivers using Cobra seats to pick up some serious points: Chris Smiley’s Honda rounded out the podium ahead of team-mate Josh Cook and the BMW 330i M Sport of Tom Oliphant.
If Race One was dramatic, then Race Two can only be described as chaotic, but the headline was again grabbed by Tom Ingram who claimed a first double victory for the Toyota Corolla.
The field started on slick tyres, but a sharp downpour mid race caused chaos and eventually resulted in the race being red flagged.
Ingram had led from pole but contact with Jason Plato’s Vauxhall Astra let the BMW of Tom Oliphant nip by both of them and into first, before the first safety car was deployed.
While the safety car was circulating, the rain came, with the result that when the race resumed, Oliphant was the first man to experience the wet conditions as the field came into Copse. Oliphant’s BMW 3 Series twitched wide on the exit of the first corner and he was soon shuffled down the order, as Ingram swept into what proved to be an unassailable lead.
The conditions were atrocious – and that gave the Championship contenders the opportunity to show their mettle: Team BMW’s Turkington surged from 14th to second, whilst Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Cammish came from 11th to third.
With more than 75% of the race run, Ingram was declared the victor to double his tally for the day and Turkington was second.
After having his championship lead cut to just six points after race one his inspired drive took Turkington 11 points clear of Cammish, who edged above Jordan in the standings.
If the race hadn’t created enough drama, more was to follow after the chequered flag: Although Cammish retained his third-place finish and kept his points tally, he was fined £1500 and had three penalty points added to his licence for a misdemeanour behind the safety car.
Deep breath and on to race three!
This time a shower of rain just before the race proved to be the deciding factor: Seeing rain sweep in on the green flag lap, Jack Goff and his team decided to gamble and pit for wet tyres for the race start. It paid off in spectacular style.
Goff was able to carve his way through the field as the rain gradually began to intensify as the laps wore on.
An early safety car period closed up the field and helped Goff's charge but by then Goff had already posted fastest lap.
Josh Cook had led the race for the first 14 laps but was finally overhauled by Goff who then slowly pulled away to consolidate his lead and deliver Team HARD their first ever British Touring Car Championship race victory.
Behind him Honda's Matt Neal claimed a hard earned third place, Team BMW's Tom Oliphant ended up in fourth ahead of Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan in seventh and eighth respectively.
In yet another twist, Dan Cammish sat in a podium position for the majority of the race and looked as though he might emerge with the championship lead after electing to remain on the slick tyre but he fell down to the 12th by the end of the race as the wet-tyre runners eventually made their way up the order.
So while we catch our breath and look forward to Brands, Colin Turkington has managed to extend his championship advantage to 16-points ahead of Honda's Dan Cammish, who, in turn, is a point further ahead of Jordan with Josh Cook, Tom Ingram and Rory Butcher all in with a mathematical chance of taking the title.
Can it be any coincidence that they all use Cobra seats?