BTCC: Cook Doubles Up and Sutton tastes victory at Thruxton

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BTC Racing's Josh Cook claimed two wins from the opening weekend of BTCC action at Thruxton. Image Courtesy of British Touring Car Championship.

Reigning BTCC Champion Ash Sutton claimed victory in a hectic wet weather thriller race 3 after Josh Cook did the double earlier on.

Race 1 – Cook on Top as Sutton gets Sent Into a Spin

It was Sutton who started the day on pole position after taking a tight pole in changeable conditions on Saturday.

The reigning champ got off the line well, and led through turn 1, but trouble was ahead.

Going into the Complex, Sutton was lightly tapped at the rear by Colin Turkington .

This sent Sutton’s Infiniti round on cold tyres, dropping him out of the lead and down to the back.

Josh Cook made most of the incident ahead, passing Turkington around the outside of Cobb to take the lead.

The recovering Turkington was then passed by Tom Ingram’s Hyundai into Church for 2nd.

Turkington wasn’t the only BMW struggling, as WSR teammate Oliphant spun onto the grass down the back straight.

But there was trouble further back as Gordon Shedden and Chris Smiley ended up in the barriers at Noble, bringing out the safety car.

The race went green again on lap 7 and Cook held onto the lead from the restart.

Behind, Thruxton specialist, Adam Morgan was on the move, passing Carl Boardley’s Infiniti into Church for 9th.

Dan Rowbottom and Boardley’s teammate Aiden Moffat also slipped pass Boardley on the same lap.

Rowbottom then made a move on Morgan through the Club chicane on the end of lap 8.

Morgan then made a mistake up at Campbell, allowing Moffat to slip past the BMW too.

The race ended early for Stephen Jelley however, pitting on lap 11 with transmission issues.

Wily old Fox Jason Plato was working up a move on Scot Rory Butcher, trying to pass the Toyota through the Complex.

However, Butcher defended his position well, allowed the BTC Racing Honda of Dan Cammish to get involved.

Cammish, making a guest appearance at Thruxton, slipped past the pair of them through Segrave on lap 13.

But up front, Cook remained unchallenged, easing his Honda Civic FK8 to victory.

Tom Ingram took a very solid 2nd place, giving Hyundai their best ever finish to date.

Jake Hill took a strong 3rd place, having fended off Turkington’s BMW for the whole race.

Turkington took 4th on track, but was later given a 17 second time penalty for the collision with Sutton on lap 1.

This promoted Cammish to 4th, Butcher 5th holding off Plato, Rowbottom 7th and Morgan 8th.

Sutton recovered well to eventually finish in 9th place with teammate Moffat in 11th.

Turkington’s penalty dropped the 4 time champion down to 10th place.

Boardley took 12th ahead of Jack Goff’s Cupra, with Tom Chilton and Oliphant completing the top 15.

Aron-Taylor Smith returned with a 18th place, ahead of Ollie Jackson who had to pit early on.

Jade Edwards finished an impressive 20th place for BTC Racing, with rookie Rick Parfitt Jnr taking 25th ahead of Nic Hamilton in 26th.

Race 2 – Two in a Row for Cook

Josh Cook started race 2 from pole position, his Honda Civic filled with 75kgs of success ballast.

Cook held the lead off the start as Jake Hill challenged Tom Ingram for 2nd through the opening corners.

However, there was big drama behind as a huge crash involving Andy Neate, Glynn Geddie and Jade Edwards brought out the red flag.

Neate appeared to have a moment into turn 1, spearing into Geddie’s Cupra in the process.

Edwards was unfortunately collected by the pair, sending all 3 into the barriers and Geddie upside down.

Despite the severity of the incident, all 3 drivers escaped unharmed, the only real damage to the cars and the barriers.

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With repairs completed, the race got back under way with Cook leading Ingram on the restart.

Ingram tried to challenge Cook through the Complex, but as Cook had a moment at Campbell, Ingram was run out wide and left vulnerable.

This gave the opportunity to Cammish, Hill, Butcher and Plato get slip past Ingram’s Hyundai.

However, Butcher’s race was about to abruptly come to an end as he lost control of his Toyota through Noble and speared into the tyre barrier.

Butcher was unhurt but the safety car was deployed to clear up his stricken car.

When the track was clear the race went green once again on lap 6 with Cook holding the lead.

Dan Rowbottom was the car on the move on the restart, the Team Dynamics driver passing Ingram for 5th.

The Honda driver then made a bold move on Plato into the chicane to take 4th on lap 10.

But once again it was Josh Cook who simply unstoppable, taking his second victory of the day.

And it was jubilation for BTC Racing, as Dan Cammish made it a 1-2 finish for the team.

Jake Hill made it consecutive 3rd places ahead of Rowbottom and Plato completing the top 5.

Ingram came home 6th ahead of Turkington, Moffat, Sutton and Oliphant.

Sutton had struggled with turbo boost issues early on and had pit under safety car, once again recovering to a solid 9th place.

Stephen Jelley, Jack Goff, Ollie Jackson, Dan Lloyd and Aron-Taylor Smith completed the top 15.

Gordon Shedden recovered from his race 1 crash to 18th place, ahead of Adam Morgan in 21st, who had a torrid race, spinning twice, and Nic Hamilton with an impressive 22nd.

Race 3 – Sutton Recovers with Wet-Weather Win

Josh Cook made the draw for the reverse grid, and pulled Stephen Jelley’s BMW onto pole.

But just like for Qualifying, the British weather made it’s presence known just before the start.

As the cars were parking up on the grid, rain started to fall, putting pressure on the teams to decide which tyres to choose for the race start.

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Most drivers decided to go for the wet weather tyres, with only a few gambling on slicks.

Most notably was the BMW of Tom Oliphant, who was starting on the front row, WSR splitting the strategy of their 2 cars.

But some teams made their tyre choices slightly too late, with both Cook and Ingram moving too late.

Both drivers were given 30 second penalties as their tyres were not fitted at the correct time.

As the race got under way, Jelley got away well, as Oliphant struggled on the slicks and started dropping down the field.

Despite having a penalty on his head, Ingram was still on the move, passing Moffat into Church.

But as we’ve seen in the past, when the conditions get wet, Ash Sutton comes to life.

And it didn’t take him long to take the lead from Jelley through Segrave on lap 2.

Colin Turkington also managed to slip past teammate Jelley, as he was slowed by Sutton’s pass.

But the man making all the moves was Flash, Gordon Shedden, the Scot already up into the top 10 by lap 4.

And Shedden soon made light work of teammate Rowbottom, passing him into Church.

Jason Plato was in the thick of the action once again, this time challenging Aiden Moffat’s Infiniti.

The Vauxhall driver made a move into Campbell on lap 7, but Moffat held his own around the outside of Segrave.

This allowed Ollie Jackson to get involved, initially getting his Ford Focus past the pair of them before running wide at Noble.

Plato and Moffat slipped back past, but the latters race was soon finished as he pulled off the track with a problem.

As the race went on, the track started to dry and the slick gamblers started to move forward.

Hill and Oliphant were the leaders on the slick tyres and were carving their way up the field.

Hill passed Plato, Jelley, Turkington and race leader Sutton in the space of 3 laps.

Oliphant was following Hill through but had a 5 second penalty hanging over him after being out of place on the grid.

However, the weather started to change again, as rain started to fall once again.

This meant Sutton started to close back in on Hill and Oliphant ahead, as conditions came back to his wet tyres.

He made his move for second on Oliphant through Noble, capitalising on the extra grip.

Sutton then pulled off a carbon copy maneuver on Hill to take the lead back on lap 14.

Further back, Rory Butcher’s nightmare day continued as he was involved in a late accident.

Butcher was collected after Boardley and Rick Parfitt Jnr collided up at the Complex.

As the rain continued to fall, Oliphant continued to struggle, coming under pressure from behind.

First to challenge the BMW was Plato, taking 3rd off Oliphant into the chicane on lap 15.

Shedden was next to follow through, getting past Oliphant into turn 1 just seconds later.

But it was Ash Sutton who conquered the changeable conditions the best to take victory.

It was the perfect reward after a day of struggles for the 2 time and reigning champion.

Plato finished his impressive race day, stealing second off of Jake Hill on the line, by just 0.07.

Hill therefore completed his hat-trick of 3rd places, edging Shedden for the podium.

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Dan Lloyd made it a successful race 3 for Power Maxed Racing with a solid 5th place.

Turkington came home in 6th ahead of struggling teammate Oliphant in 7th.

Jack Goff took a strong 8th place for Team HARD, with Jackson and Jelley completing the top 10.

Aron-Taylor Smith just missed out on the top 10 in 11th ahead of Sam Osbourne in a decent 12th.

Tom Chilton came home 13th having retired from race 2, with Sam Smelt and Chris Smiley completing the points finishers.

Rick Parfitt Jnr just missed out on points in 16th, with Nic Hamilton also performing well in 17th.

Race 1 and 2 winner Josh Cook eventually finished 20th after multiple runs through the pits.

Jake Hill Leads Proceedings ahead of Snetterton

So, after 3 races of hectic action at Thruxton, Jake Hill heads to Snetterton as championship leader.

Hill holds a 1 point lead over Josh Cook, with the experienced Plato just 7 points further back.

There now comes a 5 week break until rounds 4,5 and 6 at Snetterton on 12/13 June.

This extended break is aimed at getting fans back into venues with the continuing roll out of Covid 19 vaccinations in the UK.

And with the quality of racing seen at Thruxton, fans are set for some incredible action for when they do return.

 

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