Dan Cammish leads the BTCC championship after the second 2023 round at Brands Hatch Indy, with Tom Ingram standing second after scoring two podiums in Kent to remain in the championship battle.
Dan Cammish leads the BTCC championship after the second 2023 round at Brands Hatch Indy, with Tom Ingram standing second after scoring two podiums in Kent to remain in the championship battle. Ash Sutton enjoyed two victories for NAPA Racing UK to close the gap to the championship leader to just 10 points.
Cammish started the weekend's opening race from pole position but lost the lead to the BMW of Colin Turkington into Paddock Hill. The Team BMW driver enjoyed superior grip on the soft tyres compared to Cammish's hard tyres.
NAPA Racing UK's Sutton got past teammate Cammish on the opening lap before a multiple-car collision of Clearways caused a red flag. The original pole sitter began the restart from pole position and suffered an even more lacklustre start, dropping to fourth pace as both two BMWs and Sutton took advantage.
Both Ford Focus STs also passed Jake Hill's BMW 330e M Sport on the opening lap as the rear-wheel drive car struggled for grip on the medium tyre in a race reduced to 18 laps from 24. Turkington controlled the race and used his hybrid allocation strategically to take victory in Race 1 ahead of the NAPA Racing UK duo of Sutton and Cammish.
Race 1's winner Turkington began the second race of the day from pole position but lost the lead into Paddock Hill as Sutton took the advantage. The reigning champion, Ingram, gained three places on the first lap and moved into second place in his Hyundai i30.
29-year-old Ingram began challenging Sutton for the lead, filling the Ford Focus ST driver's mirrors, but he couldn't find a way past. With six laps to go, Sutton held back the fight ahead of Ingram, and Turkington further back in third place, with three different manufacturers in the top three.
Further down the field, Sam Osborne pulled off an opportunistic move past Josh Cook at Clearways to take eighth place on the penultimate lap. Sutton took victory in the day's second race in Kent ahead of Ingram as Turkington scored his second consecutive podium finish, ending the race in third place.
Bobby Thomspon benefitted from the traditional reversed-grid lottery draw and started Race 3 from pole position for Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils. Ricky Collard took the lead on the opening lap in his Toyota Corolla GR Sport as Thompson dropped to second place.
Sutton enjoyed a superb start to the race, gaining eight positions in the opening four laps for NAPA Racing UK. The NAPA Racing driver's lightning start to the third race at Brands Hatch Indy continued, and Sutton dispatched Thompson, diving up the inside at Clearways six laps into the race to take P2.
Hill improved to P6 10 laps into the 24-lap event, taking the position at Paddock Hill using the slipstream down the pit straight. The Team BMW driver moved up the field once more with 11 laps to go, passing the Toyota Corolla of Rory Butcher at Druids.
Sutton relentlessly challenged Collard for the lead, but Hill spun at Paddock Hill from sixth place and slowly limped back to the pits with a puncture.
Leader Collard used his 12-lap hybrid allocation to defend as Sutton kept close to the Toyota's rear wing. The Ford Focus ST driver attempted to pass Sutton at Paddock Hill, but the Toyota driver stayed ahead with four laps left.
Although it looked like Collard would battle for a win, the stewards handed the Toyota Corolla GR Sport driver a 10-second penalty for track limit offences. To make matters worse, Sutton got past into Paddock Hill on the final lap after going side by side on the main straight.
The pair continued battling hard, and Collard fought back at Druids to take the win on track before he was relegated to eighth place after his penalty was applied. The triumph represented Sutton's second win of the day, with Thompson in second place and Ingram in third.
The BTCC racers have a week off before the action returns a little further north for Round 3 at Snetterton. The Norfolk track will host the series on May 20-21.
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