WEEKEND WRAP-UP: THRUXTON
Having hosted the season-opening event earlier during the year, the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returned to a fan-filled Thruxton Circuit last August, as the second half of the campaign got underway in Hampshire.
A seventh career victory around the 2.37-mile circuit kept Josh Cook’s Thruxton record alive before Ash Sutton and Adam Morgan took to the top step of the podium in races two and three respectively, and we’re looking back at all the thrills and spills from the Hampshire speedbowl in today’s Weekend Wrap-Up!
ASH SUTTON TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE AT THRUXTON
Action aplenty as BTCC wows the crowds in Hampshire
Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton cemented his lead at the top of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship standings after scoring his fourth victory of the season at Thruxton (28/29 August).
The early spoils went to the new undisputed king of the Hampshire speedbowl as BTC Racing’s Josh Cook won the opener – his seventh top step success in his previous six visits to the UK’s fastest track.
An incident-packed finale was won by Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan, rounding off a dramatic day of BTCC action in front of thousands of fans trackside and many, many more watching live on ITV4.
Starting race one from third on the grid, Cook immediately weaved his #66 Honda Civic Type R by Jake Hill’s Ford and pole-sitter Dan Rowbottom’s Honda on the run down to Campbell Corner for the first time.
The move was completed with relative ease and the same can be said for the remainder of the contest, as Cook held off MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Hill until the finish.
It was Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Rowbottom that struggled to maintain his impressive qualifying pace, as he was relegated further down the order early on by Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant and Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Rory Butcher.
Sutton scored a smooth and calculated triumph in the second bout as the reigning title-holder picked his way through the field from fifth on the grid.
Having shed much of the success ballast from race one, the #1 Infiniti immediately came alive and by lap four Sutton was relinquishing Oliphant’s BMW 330i M Sport of second place.
Sutton gradually hauled his car towards the escaping Honda of Cook, and the battle for victory was soon on. Cook made his good friend work for the win but, on lap 11 of 16, Sutton squeezed by as the duo approached turn one.
Oliphant continued his impressive day by securing a podium double, as he held off the #24 Ford Focus of Hill.
Three safety car periods and a wild ride through the final chicane couldn’t prevent pole-sitter Morgan from winning a thrilling finale, as the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport man led from start-to-finish.
Morgan fended off the hard-charging Team BMW car of Colin Turkington throughout the race, and with both drivers having been selected by the German marque to score Manufacturer points during the weekend, it was a firm but fair fight until the finish.
Various incidents involving the likes of Gordon Shedden, Jade Edwards, Ollie Jackson, Carl Boardley and Sam Smelt halted the racing action on three occasions, heaping further pressure on Morgan as he tried to stay out in front.
Morgan’s main fright came with three laps remaining when the Ciceley star outbraked himself through the final chicane, enforcing an off-track run, but the #33 machine returned unscathed and with his lead intact.
Second place represented important championship points for Turkington, whilst BTC Racing’s Senna Proctor completed the podium.
As the sun set on an enthralling and entertaining weekend it was Sutton holding a 30-point advantage in the Drivers’ standings over Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com’s Tom Ingram, followed by Cook, Hill and Turkington.
BMW extended its lead in the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ entries, whilst BTC Racing and Laser Tools Racing were joint top in the Teams’ order.
Sutton and Laser Tools Racing continued to command the Independents’ honours, whilst Turkington remained the highest points scorer in the battle for the Goodyear Wingfoot Award.
Rowbottom still topped the Jack Sears Trophy but there was a first-ever win in the category for EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com’s Jack Butel.