The 2023 British Touring Car Championship got underway at Donington Park, with Tom Ingram hoping to retain the title which he won last season. Here is how the racing action unfolded:
Rowbottom started on the pole with his title-winning teammate Ash Sutton sitting a long side In a Napa Racing UK lockout of the front row.
This didn’t stick though with Jake Hill making contact with Sutton off the start pushing Sutton onto the grass, which resulted in his retirement with his radiator smoking as a result of the grass clogged in it.
Rowbottom also found himself falling backward through the field after such a promising start to the weekend.
Napa Racing did still have a secret weapon with Dan Cammish, finding himself in second position followed by Tom Ingram in the Excelr8 Hyundai who was waving him to go for first.
Cammish would find his way past the Laser Tools Racing’s liveried BMW of Hill coming into the Old Hairpin after sticking around the outside in the Craner Curves and would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the race.
Hill’s tyres were definitely going off and he was under pressure from Ingram now, and an arriving Andrew Watson in the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall with just a few laps to go in the race.
The best Ingram could do though was race Hill to the line, but Hill would hold him off to finish second, and Ingram would have to settle with third.
There were two yellow flag periods in this race with Tom Chilton spinning and stopping at the exit of the Old Hairpin, but by the time the safety car had come out Chilton had got going again, and continued on his way.
Nick Halstead going off into the gravel down at the Craner Curve caused the second.
Watson was the man of this race though with him making up 5 positions to finish fourth in the Power Max Vauxhall, in a brilliant BTCC debut.
This was the race where the heavens opened.
The drama started before the race with Jake Hill receiving a three-place grid penalty, a result of his contact in the first race with Sutton.
At race start the track had dried off a bit from the earlier rain, so most teams had switched to the dry tyres.
Ricky Collard would go off in his Toyota though, which would bring out the safety car, which caused a flurry of activity in the pits.
As some teams switched to the wets, the rain was only spitting so it still looked like a big risk to some, as the front runners like Ingram, Watson, and Cammish decided against going in.
This proved to be a mistake though with more than half the field pitting for wets, and with the safety car just about ready to go in as the car was cleared, it started raining like cats and dogs.
Morgan looked the best suited for the conditions as he was at the front of the queue with wet tyres.
Tom Chilton would send it around the outside of basically everyone though, as he would took the lead at the Old Hairpin.
Tom Chilton would go on to win in the wet conditions with Morgan coming home in second, but the third place car of Ronan Pearson would be disqualified after the race after failing to pass ride height inspections.
Therefore, Sam Osborne would go on to inherit the third position, a great result for him.
The driver that really stood out was Nicholas Hamilton though, as he recorded his best finishing position of sixth and was as high as fourth at one point as he started the race on wet tyres in a very risky tactic that paid off.
Dan Cammish started on the front row for the reversed grid race, after he finished in 12th position in race two, he was joined on the front row by Ash Sutton, the second lockout of the front row for Napa Racing UK of the day.
As usual for race three it was a hectic start with Nick Halstead, spinning off the road at turn one to bring out the safety car.
On the restart Adam Morgan found himself doing 360s on the main straight, dropping him to the back of the field, as everyone around him had to take avoiding action.
Then up by Mcleans Bobby Thompson went for the inside line but tapped Dan Rowbottom’s right rear sending him skidding across the gravel.
The second yellow would come out for Sam Osborne who stopped at the pit exit.
Dan Cammish had a nice gap in the lead, but behind it was a battle of titans of this new generation of BTCC drivers with Ingram, Turkington, Sutton, and Hill fighting for second position.
Cammish would go on to win with Ingram in second, but Turkington fell behind Sutton who finished third, and Hill in fourth.
Another notable moment was Jade Edwards retiring with just a few laps to go, as she struggled with car issues most of the day.
Nicholas Hamilton would fall down the field after his impressive performance in race 2, as he made contact with Ricky Collard’s Toyota Corolla.