BTCC: Hill’s day goes dreamland to wasteland, as Sutton and Turkington take wins

Race one

Mikey Doble took the first non-Napa Racing Pole position of the year, with his Carstore Power maxed Racing Vauxhall also the first independent car to start in the number one slot this year.

The rain just started to fall as the drivers went around to the grid, with the grid split in their decision to take the slicks or wet tyres, with championship rivals trying to copy one another but ultimately being split.

Even the graphics didn’t know what drivers were on, and when they rounded the final corner the rain got much heavier looking like the slicks were the wrong choice.

Mikey Doble lost the Pole position as he did two formation laps compared to others one in some confusion for the Vauxhall driver.

The start saw the right tyre choosing Jake Hill to get a great start as he had created a massive lead by turn one, which only got bigger and bigger.

By lap 2, Watson and Osborne were up to second and third with them both going for the wets, which was the superior tyre at this point.

On Lap three Osborne out broke himself into Maggots, which allowed Rowbottom down the insideĀ and through, as Osborne recovered.

Ingram then spun a full 180 degrees when entering Maggotts losing a boatload of positions, with Hyundai looking like a deer on ice.

At the end of the lap, the championship rivals Ingram and Sutton both entered the pitlane, as they switched to the wet tyres, which dropped them massively back in the field, perfect for Jake Hill in first, who needed something like this to happen to reignite his championship chances.

Ingram had the faster team, in the pits, with the Excelr8 driver out of the pitlane before Sutton which was crucial for his championship chances if he were to score points, but they were both a lap down.

On lap 13, the tyres had reached their switch-over point, with those on the slick tyres now finding some pace, as the wet runners plateaued, with the race only halfway through.

Andrew Watson in his Power Maxed Vauxhall was coming under a bit of pressure from Dan Rowbottom, who was thinking about sizing up a move, on the Vauxhall, for second.

Aiden Moffat on lap 18 locked up and slid into the gravel at Brooklands, dropping him from 16th to 20th, as he rallied his way out of the gravel.

Watson was able to fend off Rowbottom on lap 18, as they banged door panels through Brooklands and Luffield as the Vauxhall prevailed, as he rubbed the Ford’s right rear, unsettling it out of Luffield, as Watson held onto the lead.

Rowbottom with the switch back on the final corner found his way up to second, with Jake Hill the length of the pit straight ahead.

The slicks had come into their own on lap 20 with Collard setting the fastest lap time in 20th, which was too little too late for those who decided to run the dry tyres.

Jake Hill delivered a very important win by a massive +5.355sĀ  from Dan Rowbottom in the highest of the Napa cars, and Andrew Watson finished the podium in his Power Maxed Vauxhall.

It was a disaster for both Tom Ingram and Ash Sutton who finished 22nd and 23rd, with Jake Hill now second in the championship, 41 points behind Ash Sutton.

Race two

Jake Hill launched like a rocket off the start as he was gone, but Rowbottom had done quite the opposite as he dropped all the way down to fourth from second, moving as slow as a snail off the start line.

Tom Ingram had fallen behind Sutton as he was collected in an incident with Jack Butel, who pushed Ingram off the circuit and spun off Patterson at Brooklands, as Butel locked up into them both.

Dan Rowbottom tried to go three wide with Morgan and Taylor-Smith, which left him entering Brooklands sideways after rubbing doors with Morgan unsettling the car, he luckily caught the slide but fell down the order.

Deleon was given a ten-second penalty on lap five for a false start from the Team Hard driver.

Sutton was carving his way through the order as by the end of lap six he was up to 12th from 23rd on the grid as he charged his way through a very bunched-up field.

A fighting Bobby Thompson and Josh Cook were side by side through Copse losing them both momentum, which allowed Sutton to catch and follow Cook on the inside line at Maggots, which allowed the Ford to squeeze past Thompson.

Further back in the field Doble and Jelley had a very similar incident to the Cleland and Soaper crash of 1992 at Luffield, as Doble went up the inside of Jelley, which saw Doble’s front left to make contact with Jelley’s rear right, sending the BMW off into the gravel backwards.

On Lap 15, the safety car came out onto the circuit for debris, which brought the field right together, with Ash Sutton and Tom Ingram with great pace now in 10th and 6th so they weren’t out of this.

It was a short Safety car period, as they were gone again on Lap 16 with Jake Hill getting a great restart as he was eight-tenths ahead when they made it to the line.

Aron Taylor-Smith was through on the inside at Woodcote on lap 17, the gap had gone for Hill, as he dropped like Rock through the field, as he was in eighth with an issue by the time lap 18 was over.

The race lead was anyone’s heading in the final laps, both Sutton in third and Ingram in fifth had outrageous pace, as Ingram had the fastest lap, but Morgan and Taylor-Smith had track position.

As they crossed the line for the final time Taylor-Smith squeezed Sutton to the wall, but he was far enough alongside and he held his inside line to go through at Cops corner.

Ash Sutton wins in a drive of the season with Aron Taylor-Smith in second, and in an equally as impressive performance Ingram in third from 22nd.

Jake Hill’s good day turned into a nightmare dropping from the lead to 20th, a result that put his championship dreams far into his fantasy.

Race three

Starting in the number one spot was Michael Crees, who finished race two in 12th, with Ronan Pearson alongside, and Daniel Rowbottom in third giving him another chance to get his second podium of the day.

Michael Creese had a good reaction but too much wheel spin, which saw him fall to fourth by the time they were entering copes, with Ronan Pearson now leader from second on the grid.

A scary accident on the Wellington straight as Crees got sandwiched by Rory Butcher and Adam Morgan, with Morgan moving left and across Creese as they went under the bridge which turned the BMW sideways across the field collecting Butcher with them both clattering along the new left-hand wall.

This brought out the safety car on lap two as they cleared the Toyota, with Morgan continuing with just some scratches and dents in his door.

It was green again on lap seven as Dan Rowbottom led the field to the line with the whole grid within a couple of tenths of one another.

Colin Turkington went around the outside of Loyld at Brooklands, with him taking the position as he had the inside for Luffield.

Turkington on lap nine got a great run out of Luffield on the outside for the lead, with his great traction giving him first position before Copse.

Pearson went down the inside of Creese at Copse in a gap the size of his car, which ran them both wide, allowing Ingram to take them both as he stayed on the circuit.

Ingram set up the switch back out of Brooklands on Rowbottom, but Rowbottom had the car sat on the inside at Luffield to cover it, Ingram had saved some hybrid for the straight allowing him to just fly past for second at the start of lap 14.

On lap 19 Sutton was quite close to Rowbottom leaving the team, with a choice to let the faster Sutton through or to allow Rowbottom to fight for his position

Finally, on lap 22 Sutton dived to the inside at Brooklands, and had the move done by the apex of the corner, with Rowbottom not putting up much of a fight as he was now in the clutches of Ronan Pearson.

Colin Turkington came home to take BMW’s 150th win in the BTCC with Tom Ingram in second and Sutton in third, with his championship lead now 45 points from Ingram.





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