NAPA Racing UK double before Team BMW fight back
Cammish, Sutton and Turkington share BTCC spoils at Croft
The 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship resumed at Croft this weekend (29/30 July) after its annual summer break, as the title race swung one way and then the other during a dramatic race day in North Yorkshire.
The NAPA Racing UK trio of Dan Cammish, Ash Sutton and Dan Rowbottom were in commanding form during their qualifying 1-2-3 on Saturday, which they duly converted into an impressive podium clean sweep in each of the first two races on Sunday.
Drama followed in the final bout, however, as Team BMW’s Colin Turkington won from BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8’s Tom Ingram, whilst an accident for Sutton cut his advantage to just six points at the summit of the Drivers’ standings.
Turkington has now moved up to third in the overall order, ahead of WSR stablemate Jake Hill, whilst Cammish reignited his own championship challenge after scoring a fantastic haul of points around the technical 2.13-mile circuit.
Josh Cook completed the podium during the finale as the One Motorsport with Starline Racing driver made a solid return to the rostrum.
Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Knockhill in Scotland on 12/13 August.
Cammish in control
Pole man Cammish claimed victory in the opener – ahead of NAPA Racing UK team-mates Sutton and Rowbottom – as the trio produced a dominant display.
It was status quo for much of the 15 laps, although Sutton and Rowbottom did have an early skirmish for second, with the former choosing to run the medium Goodyear tyre compound while his team-mates ran the quicker soft option.
Rowbottom eventually played the team game, however, as he let Sutton through to take second on the final lap.
There was no stopping the pride of Yorkshire at the front as Cammish cruised to his third victory of the campaign to kickstart the second half of his season.
Cook produced a brilliant defensive drive as he also ran the medium Goodyear tyres on his One Motorsport with Starline Racing Honda, keeping a trio of title contenders behind him to take fourth.
Team BMW’s Turkington was shuffled down to seventh after Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Hill and BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8’s Ingram got the better of the four-time champion during the opening laps.
Sutton sweeps to seventh success of season
NAPA Racing UK took another podium lockout in the second BTCC race of the day, as standings leader Sutton swept to his seventh win of the year so far.
The #116 Ford Focus blasted off the line from second on the grid and cruised around the outside of team-mate Cammish to move into the lead through turn one, and the ultra-talented Sutton eventually pulled nearly eight seconds clear of the chasing pack.
Cammish backed up his race one win success with a second-place finish, whilst Rowbottom again claimed third as he fended off Ingram for the 15-lap duration.
Ingram hounded down Rowbottom and hauled his Hyundai i30N alongside his rival at one stage early on, but he was unable to make a move stick and had to settle for fourth.
One Motorsport with Starline Racing’s Cook was fifth ahead of Turkington’s BMW 330e M Sport, but there was disappointment for one title contender as Hill spun down the order whilst in the battle for a top five finish.
Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Hill was pressuring Cook’s Honda Civic Type R but seemed to push too hard through turn one on lap ten and eventually lost control on the exit of the corner – he would eventually finish 11th.
Turkington takes lights-to-flag victory
Team BMW’s Turkington claimed a commanding triumph in the final race at Croft, whilst Ingram took second to again close the gap to Sutton to just six points.
Cook went for glory from the outside of the front row, but couldn’t convert a move on Turkington and also had to concede to Ingram as the field flew through the opening turns.
There was even greater drama behind as Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley was involved in an incident with a trio of NAPA Racing UK cars. Slight contact led to a further significant moment as a clash between Sutton’s Ford and Jelley’s BMW forced both cars into retirement.
A safety car was called for when Sutton’s stricken machine failed to make it back into the pitlane, but Turkington was still able to control the race at the restart from Ingram and Cook.
NAPA Racing UK’s Cammish and Rowbottom came home in fourth and fifth respectively to complete a fantastic day for the duo, whilst One Motorsport with Starline Racing’s Aiden Moffat grabbed a top six finish.
Turkington’s triumph helped BMW maintain its lead of the Manufacturers’ standings, whilst NAPA Racing UK remain top of the Teams’ leaderboard.
A solid weekend for Cook and his One Motorsport with Starline Racing outfit ensures they hold sway across the Independents’ honours, whilst CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Mikey Doble tops the Jack Sears Trophy table.
Dan Cammish said: “What a result for NAPA! It was fantastic to get a 1-2-3 for the first time in Qualifying yesterday. It’s great being at the front but you can also get it very wrong if you are not careful.
“From our side, I think we have had more team debriefs this weekend than we have had in a while and are doing our absolute best for NAPA Racing UK as a whole.
“We played a strategic game in the first one with Ash [Sutton] using the medium and me and Dan [Rowbottom] racing it out on the softs. We knew that would reverse in Race 2 with Ash getting the upper hand – it worked out perfectly. I’m glad we were stood up there again with a 1-2-3.
“For myself to win at my home circuit, my first ever win at Croft in a touring car, I am very pleased with that.”
Ash Sutton said: “Those changes overnight definitely worked – that car just came alive, it’s absolutely mega on the soft tyre. All cars are but that was just something else.
“I got a nice launch and I think I made the most of that soft tyre and got the jump on Dan [Cammish]. But he was still there on the inside, so I had to go a little bit later than I wanted to on the brakes just to make it stick.
“Just pleased with it. Got my head down, got the fastest lap point and then brought it home. To get a podium 1-2-3 twice is just fantastic for NAPA Racing UK.”
Colin Turkington said: “I really didn’t think that was on the cards! Obviously as you saw lap one was the critical moment and I had to keep Josh [Cook] and Tom [Ingram] behind as they are both super quick, super aggressive.
“I could see where Tom [Ingram] was quick, so he would catch me into and out of Tower, but the rest of the lap I felt like I had the legs. I was pleased when I saw him start to degrade a bit, but that’s two weekends on the bounce we have won with the hard tyres – it used to be our Achilles heel but, so far, we have got on top of it.
“A big well done to Team BMW, they grafted really hard for that one today!”
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Croft
1. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK 15 Laps
2. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK +0.717s
3. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +1.327s
4. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +5.522s
5. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +5.907s
6. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +7.124s
7. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +7.403s
8. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +10.482s
9. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +26.129s
10. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +28.734s
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Croft
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK +0.717s
2. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +7.682s
3. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +9.853s
4. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +10.607s
5. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +13.607s
6. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +13.607s
7. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +14.292s
8. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +15.103s
9. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +15.627s
10. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +17.122s
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Croft
1. Colin Turkington, Team BMW 18 Laps
2. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +3.242s
3. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing 5.287s
4. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +5.886s
5. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +7.192s
6. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +10.402s
7. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +12.336s
8. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +13.152s
9. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +21.699s
10. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +22.819s
Jade Edwards had five points deducted from the Drivers’ Championship for having changed an engine above the number permitted.
One Motorsport with Starline Racing received a fine of £2,500 for a Motorsport UK Regulation infringement.
Árón Taylor-Smith was penalised by means of a three place grid penalty for an incident involving Aiden Moffat. He received an additional three place penalty for reaching the number of allowed strikes permitted.
Sam Osborne was penalised by means of a one place grid penalty for an incident involving Andrew Watson.
Jack Butel received a formal reprimand for an incident involving Sam Osborne.