The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship produced three action packed races at Donington Park this past weekend (April 27/28), with Colin Turkington and Tom Ingram leaving the Leicestershire venue with a share of the spoils.
Following on from a pulsating season-opener at Brands Hatch, the second event of the 2019 campaign saw the top two from last year come to the fore and score their first wins in their respective new machines.
Ever-changing conditions in qualifying on Saturday made for a challenging battle for pole position but once the dust settled it was reigning champion Turkington that topped the times, claiming a maiden pole for the new 330i M Sport and his first since 2016.
Turkington converted his front row start into a commanding race one victory as drama ensued behind. A multi-car accident on the opening lap led to several retirements and heavy damage as Andrew Jordan’s BMW slid sideways after receiving contact exiting the Old Hairpin.
With nowhere to go, the Mercedes A-Class of Adam Morgan made contact with the side of Jordan’s car, whilst Ollie Jackson, Jake Hill and Matt Simpson were all caught up in the incident too.
Jordan was taken to hospital for precautionary checks but the crash caused significant damage to his 330i M Sport – ruling him out for the rest of the day.
Once the race restarted, defending champion Turkington served up a virtuoso performance to claim his first win of the season ahead of Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Ashley Sutton and his Team BMW team-mate Tom Oliphant – who scored his first podium in the series.
Turkington produced a carbon copy performance in the second race of the day under the flight path of East Midlands airport, once again dealing with two safety car periods. On both occasions the Northern Irishman made his escape on the restart and was never troubled as further drama took place behind.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal, 20 years on from his first-ever BTCC win at circuit, had kept his head down for most of the weekend until race two. Working his way through the order, the Honda driver dispatched Sutton with just two laps to go to take second place.
Sutton would hang on to third after producing yet another defensive masterclass, this time from Tom Chilton and Rory Butcher.
The all-new Toyota Corolla clinched a breakthrough victory in the reverse grid encounter as Ingram delivered a stellar lights-to-flag drive. In front of more than 4,500 Toyota members and their families, the Speedworks Motorsport ace was not to be denied a first win of the year – and it proved to be an emotional one at that.
Beginning the race on pole position, the 2018 runner-up scampered into the distance and was untroubled despite a brief safety car period. Behind, Rob Collard clinched his and Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing’s first piece of silverware whilst Josh Cook rounded out the podium in his BTC Racing Type R.
Virtue of his two podiums at Donington Park, Sutton has moved to the head of the BTCC Drivers’ Championship however just six points cover the top five.
Honda remain at the summit of the BTCC Manufacturer/Constructor standings whilst Team BMW lead the Teams’ leaderboard. Chilton leads the way in the Independent Drivers’ however it is BTC Racing that continue to have a stranglehold on the Independent Teams’. AMD Tuning’s Butcher extended his advantage in the Jack Sears Trophy.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship now heads to Thruxton for the third event of the season on May 18/19.