BTCC: BRANDS HATCH
A dry qualifying on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit witnessed a truly dominant performance by WSR prepared cars.
Colin Turkington scored a remarkable British Touring Car Championship pole position as WSR BMWs qualified one-two-three on the grid for Team BMW and ROKiT MB Motorsport.
The result marked not only the first top-three lockout on the grid in WSR’s 41-year history, but also a milestone 25th career BTCC pole for Colin.
However, on Sunday morning the race gods didn’t shine so brightly on the rear-wheel-drive cars with heavy showers leaving the surface greasy and unpredictable.
The early stages of the race featured a thrilling battle between Colin Turkington and Jake Hill who reprised their contest in the opening round at Donington with Turkington under constant attack from Hill who repeatedly tried to grab the lead around the outside at Druids before the pair started to drop back towards the chasing pack as their wet weather tyres started to struggle. This enabled Josh Cook in his front wheel drive Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R to pounce, first making a sensational dive down the inside of Hill at Paddock Hill Bend to take second place on lap eleven before repeating the move on Turkington to take a winning lead on the following lap.
Eventually it was Championship leader Tom Ingram's Hyundai i30 N that ended as Cook's closest challenger, the Excelr8 driver picking his way through from sixth on the grid as Hill settled for fourth, while Turkington faded to fifth by the finish ahead of the Ciceley BMW of Adam Morgan in sixth and Butcher and Shedden in seventh and eighth.
Despite a pole to flag victory in race two, Josh Cook certainly didn’t have an easy time: For much of the 24 laps Cook was engaged in a fierce game of cat and mouse with Jake Hill, whose ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW loomed large in Cook’s rear view mirrors until, with just a few laps remaining, Hill tried to turn up the pressure, but ran wide and had a spin at Druids, pushing him down the rankings to finally finish in seventh place.
Jake Hill had also spent much of the race looking in his mirrors as Dan Cammish and Rory Butcher put him under pressure and Hill’s mistake handed them podium positions.
Ash Sutton finished fourth, after coming out on top from an early-race battle royale between three drivers with no fewer than ten titles to their names - namely Gordon Shedden who wound up sixth by the end of the race (with Tom Ingram in fifth) and Colin Turkington who eventually finished a disappointing10th.
While the first two races of the day didn’t deliver the results promised by their qualifying performances, Team BMW bounced back as Colin Turkington took victory in the final Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the day.
For the first part of the race reversed-grid pole-sitter Tom Chilton in his Bristol Street Motors with Trade Price Cars.com Excelr8 Hyundai i30N held on to first place and even withstood an early safety car spell, which followed an off at Druids for “Cobra new boy” Jason Plato.
However, Chilton was gradually relegated down the order before eventually finishing in the gravel.
Turkington calmly fired his BMW 330e M Sport around the outside of Chilton at Paddock Hill Bend on lap eight, and Jake Hill’s ROKiT MB Motorsport machine soon followed suit.
The West Surrey Racing duo of Turkington and Hill remained in formation until the finish, while Tom Ingram continued his impressive start to the 2022 campaign with fourth for Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com, as he maintained his lead in the standings.
Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Rory Butcher came home in fifth ahead of Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s George Gamble in seventh. Josh Cook finished in eighth to take a brilliant points haul from the day.
It may be early days, but as it stands drivers and teams using Cobra seats top all seven standings in this year’s BTCC Championship!