Advantage Ingram after race one win
Tom Ingram hauled himself ahead of Ash Sutton in the title chase with two races of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship remaining, having won the opening contest at Brands Hatch in commanding fashion.
Pole-sitter Ingram led from start-to-finish – as well as coping with two safety car periods – to cruise to his fifth race win of the season.
The EXCELR8 Motorsport man has won two more races than his main rivals over the course of the campaign so far, with Sutton, Jake Hill and Colin Turkington all having triumphed on three occasions. Incredibly, this was Ingram’s first success on the legendary Grand Prix circuit and now puts him in the driving seat in his bid to win a first overall BTCC Drivers’ crown.
A start line skirmish nearly took out two of the contenders as ROKiT MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill made contact with Sutton’s Ford Focus, whilst his NAPA Racing UK team-mate Dan Cammish dropped down the order.
Sutton and Hill clashed again following the second restart, which brought Bobby Thompson (Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero), Adam Morgan (Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport) and Colin Turkington (Team BMW) into the mix for third, as Toyota GAZOO Racing UK’s Rory Butcher scampered away in second.
The top two positions remained unchanged until the finish as the fight for the final place on the podium incredibly included eight cars running nose-to-tail.
A battered and bruised BMW of Hill eventually grabbed the place as he wrestled his way past Sutton, whilst the reigning champ held off Turkington, Morgan and Thompson as the chequered flag waved.
It was a great moment in the spotlight for Thompson as he provisionally won the 2022 Jack Sears Trophy by taking it to some of the BTCC’s biggest names.
George Gamble performed well in his Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW to take eighth, ahead of the recovering Cammish and Team BMW car of Stephen Jelley.
Incredibly, the title race has actually closed up after the opening bout with the top three drivers – Ingram, Sutton and Hill – covered by just six points.
Race 2 takes place at 1430 before the drama of the season final commences at 1715, with the entire race day being broadcast live now on ITV4.
Tom Ingram said: “That was the plan. That was absolutely the plan and, again, it just felt good. I was happy to let Rory [Butcher] be there. I didn’t want to take any risks, I was happy just to drive around and try and keep it safe because I knew the first race is almost the most important part of the weekend coupled up with qualifying. It’s a really important part of the weekend so getting a good race one sets us into the best place we could possibly ask for race two. A great start to the day, that’s one down, we’ve just got to keep going on now.
“No big dramas, I had a little bit of a vibration, that was about my only worry with it. I was very, very happy to get that one done. I can breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that the really stressful part – because if the first race goes wrong, you’re on the recovery then for race two and race three – is done. Really pleased. Let’s stay calm. Let’s stay level-headed. And keep pulling it through.”
Rory Butcher said: “It’s great that kind of roll, that rhythm. I’m really pleased with that result. Bringing it home; we’ve got a lot of people here from Toyota, our sponsors, my wife’s about to arrive from the airport, so it means a lot. I think we can go a little bit quicker and make some tweaks to the car for race two. I need to get my start a little bit better so I can launch off the line and challenge Tom [Ingram] hopefully. But I enjoyed that! I heard it was quite exciting behind me.”
Jake Hill said: “I got a great start to get past Dan [Cammish] off the line and then Ash [Sutton] moved across and I hit him because I got squeezed and had nowhere to go. From then on, it was an absolute mess really. We came out relatively unscathed and P3! I’m really happy with the result, and obviously a lot of points. I managed to beat Ash and I’m only a couple of places behind Tom. Bring on race two!
“I think Ash realised he was quite slow in terms of race pace. He was just backing us all up so much at the apex and causing World War three behind, because then I’d get run into by Bobby or by Adam, there was just a lot going on. So, there’s a lot to focus on. You’re not just looking ahead; you’re looking all around you. Obviously, it got a bit messy at times but I’m glad to come out of it relatively unscathed.”
2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1– Brands Hatch GP
1. Tom INGRAM (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com 18 laps
2. Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +0.581s
3. Jake HILL (GBR) ROKiT MB Motorsport +8.644s
4. Ash SUTTON (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +10.408s
5. Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +10.524s
6. Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +10.779s
7. Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +11.190s
8. George GAMBLE (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +11.504s
9. Dan CAMMISH (GBR) NAPA Racing UK +12.259s
10. Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +12.728s
11. Josh COOK (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +12.795s
12. Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +13.199s
13. Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +13.690s
14. Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Toyota GAZOO Racing UK +13.974s
15. Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +14.764s
16. Tom CHILTON (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +17.040s
17. Jason PLATO (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +17.488s
18. Ash HAND (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +19.234s
19. Jack BUTEL (GBR) Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com +20.059s
20. Michael CREES (GBR) CarStore Power Maxed Racing +24.602s
21. Nic HAMILTON (GBR) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +25.509s
22. Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +2 laps
23. Jade EDWARDS (GBR) Rich Energy BTC Racing +2 laps
24. Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan +4 laps
25. Dexter PATTERSON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +4 laps
26. Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +5 laps
27. Rick PARFITT (GBR) Uptonsteel with Euro Car Parts Racing +12 laps
28. Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero +12 laps
29. Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing +18 laps