The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship blasted back into life in dramatic fashion this past weekend (August 1/2) at Donington Park with Dan Cammish, Colin Turkington and Ashley Sutton sharing the spoils.
Commencing 294 days since the 2019 season finale, Britain’s premier motorsport series took centre stage at the Leicestershire venue to kick-start the new season in style, albeit behind closed doors.
Qualifying around the 1.9-mile circuit proved to be a frenetic affair on Saturday as the 26-car grid chased pole position. Reigning four-time champion Turkington emerged as the driver to beat in the end, setting a new lap record on his way to pole position.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Cammish, who qualified second, would go on to score victory in the season-opener after getting the better of Turkington and Sutton in memorable, back and forth battle for the lead.
Launching into second place off the line, Laser Tools Racing’s Sutton was a man on a mission in the opening stages and soon began to hound the back of Turkington. On lap four, the critical moment of the contest came as Sutton got the switchback on Turkington and made his move.
Running side-by-side through McLeans, contact was made and as the field streamed up to Coppice, Cammish took advantage to squeeze by both of the, while contact from Tom Ingram on Turkington tapped the BMW driver into Sutton – sending him spinning down the order.
Recovering to finish 14th at the flag, it was a race of what ifs for Sutton as Cammish led Turkington to the chequered flag, with Rory Butcher rounding out the podium in the brand-new Motorbase Performance Ford Focus.
Race two would see Turkington cruise to an impressive lights-to-flag victory ahead of Butcher and Team BMW team-mate Tom Oliphant. Out-dragging the ballast ladened Cammish off the line, the Northern Irishman powered his way into the lead and ultimately never looked back.
Further back, all eyes were on 2017 champion Sutton as he once again served up an overtaking masterclass, scything his way though the field to take cross the line in fifth, just behind Ingram.
Virtue of the reverse grid draw, Chris Smiley was drawn onto pole position but it was to be Sutton that stole the show once again, speeding to a historic first victory for the Infiniti Q50 after starting eighth.
In the thick of the action from the get-go, the 26-year-old picked his way through the top ten and soon found himself on the back of an enthralling four-way battle for the lead, which also included Smiley, Ollie Jackson and Josh Cook.
Jumping into second not long after catching the leaders, Sutton soon found a way past Smiley and made his escape to clinch a 15th career win.
At the end of the opening weekend, Turkington holds a slender advantage at the top of the BTCC Drivers’ Championship ahead of Cammish and Sutton, with Team BMW topping the Teams’ Championship.
Honda and BMW are tied at the summit of the BTCC Manufacturer/Constructors Championship whilst Rory Butcher and Motorbase Performance are in control of both Independents’ categories. Michael Crees leads the Jack Sears Trophy.
To view the full results from this past weekend, click here.
Rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on August 8/9.