BTCC: Turkington and Ingram triumph at Donington Park

Team BMW's Colin Turkington leads the BTCC field at Donington Park. © Ian Cutting & Prescott Motorsport Photography.

After a three week break, BTCC returned at Donington Park in spectacular fashion.

Colin Turkington started Race 1 from pole and never looked troubled as he eased to the win, despite two safety car periods.

The first of these occurred on the opening lap, after a huge crash resulted in Andrew Jordan being taken to hospital.

Starting from 16th, Jordan made a great start and past Moffat and Jackson on the approach to the Old Hairpin.

The Vauxhall Astra of Rob Collard saw an opportunity and dived up Jordan’s inside.

However, the pair touched and sent Jordan into a spin across the track which caused heavy  damage to the driver’s side door.

Stephen Jelley then hit him a second time as the cars as other drivers took evasive action to avoid the melee, with Jackson and Hill also collided in the resulting carnage. Jackson looked heavily winded as he got out of his car and was also taken to hospital as a precaution.

Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan failed to make the start for the remaining two races. © Ian Cutting & Prescott Motorsport Photography.

Andrew’s father and ex-BTCC driver Mike Jordan gave an update after the race:

“[Andrew’s] a bit rough actually, I’m going to the hospital with him.”

“He’s got a lot pins and needles in his head – he’s taken a big hit.”

Mike also blamed Collard for the crash, stating: “If you qualify down there, then you’re in the pack with all the idiots.”

After four laps behind under the safety car, Turkington pulled away from Ash Sutton on the restart. Behind them, Sam Tordoff chased down the Honda of Josh Cook for the final spot on the podium.

The pair ran side by side through Coppice, but touched at the chicane and resulted in Cook picking up a puncture. The tyre delaminated completely and subsequently dropped him down the order.

As all that unfolded, Nicholas Hamilton hit the wall at the pit entry and caused another lap under the safety car. Once again, Turkington got the jump on Sutton at the restart, whilst Matt Neal passed the Tom Ingram’s Toyota for fifth place.

On lap 11, Turkington and Sutton broke away from the pack as Tordoff spun under braking for the chicane.

This allowed Tom Oliphant to move into third, having kept his nose clean all race.

Turkington won the race from Sutton at the rate of two tenths a lap and set the fastest lap in the process.

Oliphant was third, with Matt Neal’s great defending keeping Ingram at bay. Elsewhere, Dan Cammish claimed sixth ahead of Chris Smiley and Tom Chilton, while Jason Plato and Rob Collard rounded off the top ten.

Speaking after the race, Turkington spoke of his delight at winning the first race:

“Brands Hatch was a difficult weekend for me. Circumstances went against us and there’s no better feeling than winning races.”

“I only won one last year and this is the second now for the new [BMW] 3 Series. I’m fine tuning it to my style and I’m really liking it. We’ve come out of the box really fast and close to our potential.”

Turkington added: “I’m going to need a few more wins this time! Last year was just points and consistency but as usual, the bar is raised.”

“There are even quicker cars out there and serial wins will be required. 54 kilograms is new territory for us. I’ve not had weight in the car before and we’ll give it our best go.”

Race 2 also saw its fair share of action, with a further two safety car restarts. Despite this, Turkington took a another dominant victory.

Tom Oliphant held second place in the sister BMW for brief period, before Adrian Flux Subaru Racings Ash Sutton pulled of a brilliant move, promoting himself to the second step of the podium.

The first safety car was called after the Mark Blundell’s Audi collided with the MG of Sam Osbourne. The incident left Blundell’s car beached in the gravel on the run down to the final chicane.

Shortly after the restart, Tordoff tangled with Plato which sent his car shooting across the grass at the Craner Curves.

After losing position at the start, Oliphant’s descent continued and the Honda of Rory Butcher made an eye-catching manoeuvre.

The second safety period was called when Jack Goff’s VW and Smiley’s BTC Honda touched. The collision damaged the suspension on Smiley’s car and buried him in the gravel trap.

Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal then made a great move on Sutton for second place with three laps to go. Josh Cook, who had already fought back from 24th, made contact with Oliphants BMW, leaving him facing the wrong way.

As the flag fell, it was Turkington, Neal and Sutton occupying the podium, with Chilton in fourth. Butcher managed to hold off the Power Maxed Racing duo of Plato and Collard to take fifth, while Cook had to settle for eighth after his earlier incident.

After the race Neal talked about his performance:

“I was optimistic, but I was only thinking of fourth! Colin [Turkington] is just too strong for us at the moment, but I was surprised that once we got weight in the car we were up there.”

“It got a bit robust at the Craners. We were both fighting for the same piece of track (Neal and Tom Oliphant).”

“I knew I didn’t have the pace to just sit there,” responded Sutton.

“As soon as Matt [Neal] got through, I wasn’t going to make it too difficult. I couldn’t match his pace with the ballast.”

“The focus was on keeping Tom [Chilton] behind me. We haven’t been in this position before, so I’m just going to take it as it comes.”

The final race saw a safety car shortly after the lights went out.

The VW’s of Michael Crees and Carl Boardley found themselves on the grass and in the barriers at the top of Craners.

After the race restart, Tom Ingram bolted and never looked back, and led right through to the chequered flag. It was an emotional first win of the season, with more than 4,500 Toyota members and the Ingram family in attendance.

“It’s an incredibly special moment,” enthused Ingram.

“What a weekend to do it on, in our now adopted home race. I can’t tell you the pride we’ll hold in this tonight. There’s been so much hard work that’s gone into this. Not only in terms of the car, but in pulling all this together.”

Ingram continued: “To be able to do it in front of Toyota, and 4,500 supporters from the factory, is just incredible. I was mindful of managing the gap and not to push too hard. I had a gap and I was happy for Rob [Collard] to push as I knew he’d be hurting his tyres.”

Ingram dedicated his victory to his Grandmother, who sadly passed away earlier in the week:

“It’s doubly special for me as I lost my grandma in the week.”

“It’s extra special for her. That’s for nanny.”

Tom Ingram en route to an emotional victory at Donington Park for Team Toyota GB. © Ian Cutting & Prescott Motorsport Photography.

Rob Collard claimed second, after passing the Audi of Jake Hill, who was struggling to hold on with the harder Dunlop tyre.

Hill still put on a great performance, especially after a disappointing race 1 earlier in the day.

After the race Collard said: “I’m so happy for that, I really had to battle for it at the start and I knew I had to get Josh (Cook) at the start. It was now-or-never. I can safely say I’ve adapted back to front-wheel drive. That’s for all the people who said I was too old!”

Josh cook finished third, after his own overtake on Hill, with Butcher and Sutton finishing in fourth and fifth respectively. Hill eventually settled for sixth place, whilst Plato rounded off the day in seventh.

Adam Morgan claimed eighth, as his car looked worse for wear after his race 1 incident, with Turkington’s ballast dropping him to ninth and Cammish tenth.