|Toyota star Tom Ingram fired himself into Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship contention with a double victory at Thruxton, before BTC Racing’s Josh Cook put his recent misfortune behind him by winning the finale at the UK’s fastest circuit.
The BTCC title race also took a twist as Team BMW’s Colin Turkington saw his points advantage evaporate during a difficult day, enabling Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton to move to the summit of the standings.
Ingram blasted his Toyota Corolla past pole-sitter Dan Cammish off the line in the opener, before the young duo commenced a race-long duel in Hampshire.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Cammish kept Ingram honest throughout, as he did again in the second bout in a near carbon copy contest, but the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters man held on under intense pressure to claim a hugely impressive win double.
BTCC legend Matt Neal maintained his incredible record of scoring a Thruxton podium every year since 2002, as the Honda man also made the rostrum in each of the first two races.
Cook then headed home team-mate Tom Chilton to score a memorable one-two for BTC Racing, as the former also continued his amazing run of scoring a BTCC victory in each of the last four visits to his local track.
The two Honda Civic Type Rs held station for the entire duration with Cook able to keep Chilton at arm’s length throughout, whilst the main squabble commenced behind them for third.
Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher eventually took the final podium position – just – following an intense battle with both Sutton and Ingram.
The victory represented a huge relief for Cook as the Bath racer has endured a hugely unfortunate start to his BTCC campaign, which recently included a post-race disqualification following an on-the-road victory at Oulton Park and then one of the biggest accidents of his career at Knockhill last time out.
Turkington’s day unravelled early on when his BMW 3 Series suffered a misfire in the opening race, resulting in his first non-points finish of the season. It was damage limitation thereafter for the reigning champion as he recovered to take a 13th and an eighth in the following encounters.
The main beneficiary was Sutton, who performed consistently to score a trio of top-five finishes as he leapfrogged Turkington in the standings.
The 2017 champion now tops the order by 16 points from Turkington with Ingram a further 16 in arrears.
Despite an extremely rare weekend where BMW failed to claim a rostrum position, the German marque still heads both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ tables.
Sutton and his Laser Tools Racing outfit are in command of the Independents’ titles, whilst Cammish heads the Goodyear Wingfoot Award as the highest qualifier during the season so far.
Michael Crees leads the Jack Sears Trophy and also enjoyed a really stellar weekend at Thruxton, which included two top-ten finishes overall.
There is little rest for the BTCC paddock with Rounds 16, 17 and 18 scheduled to take place at Silverstone next weekend (26/27 September).
Tom Ingram said: “I’m well chuffed. If I’m being honest, I didn’t expect to be getting two wins coming into this weekend. I wanted a podium and I wanted to be up there, but I didn’t think I’d get two wins, so full credit to the guys and girls at Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters. We’ve put a hell of a package together this weekend and it feels very exciting. It was a great result and a great weekend for Toyota Gazoo worldwide with the Le Mans win, the WRC win in Argentina and two wins here in the BTCC. It’s been a hell of a day.”
Josh Cook said: “I’ve never been so relieved. It probably didn’t look anything from the outside but I was clinging onto that, it was qualifying laps every lap, just needing to bring it home. We really, really needed a good result. Morale’s been down a little bit as we’ve just had struggle after struggle so far, but I’m just so chuffed. Credit to the whole team and I’m just so glad we’ve finished with a 1-2 for BTC Racing. You’ve got to roll with the punches in the BTCC. We’ve just approached every weekend the same, just a fresh start, and we’ll do the same at Silverstone. We’re just going for the glory. We’ll have elbows out and just try and get more of what we’ve just had.”
Ash Sutton said: “It’s never really how you want to see your main championship rival go out, in terms of him having a bit of bad luck. We’ve obviously nicked the championship lead away from him, but we’re going to take it. We had some bad luck at Donington Park earlier in the season and this counteracts that to some extent. I’m in a very good position but we all know touring cars, you know how quick it can change. One minute it’s all going swimmingly and the next you’re getting tagged or having a mechanical issue. You’ve just got to be mindful of those things still being able to happen. I don’t like going into a race weekend with full ballast, as we will at Silverstone, but overall it’s a fantastic position to be in.”
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Thruxton
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters 16 laps
2 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.644s
3 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +8.578s
4 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +9.064s
5 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +18.578s
6 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +19.776s
7 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +20.374s
8 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +21.234s
9 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +21.487s
10 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +21.888s
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Thruxton
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters 16 laps
2 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.291s
3 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +6.511s
4 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +7.776s
5 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +10.089s
6 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +11.192s
7 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +11.573s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +11.800s
9 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +12.390s
10 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +13.438s
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Thruxton
1 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing 16 lap
2 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +3.475s
3 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +4.397s
4 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +5.096s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +5.628s
6 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +7.119s
7 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +7.451s
8 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +8.447s
9 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +8.912s
10 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +9.629s
Andy Neate was officially reprimanded and had his licence endorsed with two penalty points for an incident involving Carl Boardley
Michael Crees was penalised by the addition of 0.5 seconds to his overall race time for gaining an advantage in an incident involving Sam Osborne
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square has had 10 points deducted from its Teams’ and Independent Teams’ Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted
Andy Neate was disqualified from the race meeting for an act prejudicial to the interests of motorsport generally in making a threat of physical assault by the use of his car to make deliberate contact with another competitor