Colin Turkington, Ashley Sutton and Tom Ingram claimed a win apiece in front of returning spectators at Snetterton this past weekend (June 12/13) to move into the top three places of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship standings.
Welcoming back its loyal fanbase for the first time in more than a year, Britain’s premier motorsport series produced three thrilling contests in scorching temperatures, with defending champion Sutton moving to the summit of the points come the end of race day.
Basking in the bright sunshine, qualifying on Saturday served up plenty of drama as the Top Ten Showdown format made the first of three appearances scheduled for this season.
With a marginally reduced window to record their lap times, the top ten fastest competitors at the end of the 25-minute session were rewarded with the opportunity to clinch their final position on the grid during a ten-minute pole position showdown.
At the end of a frenetic battle, Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Gordon Shedden looked to have secured top spot after a sensational last-gasp lap in his Honda Civic Type R. However, following post-session scrutineering checks the Scotsman was disqualified due to a technical infringement, meaning Team BMW’s Turkington inherited pole position.
Race one would prove to be a relatively tame affair as Turkington converted his front row start into a commanding lights-to-flag victory. Opting to run the option soft tyre, the Northern Irishman withstood early pressure from the rapid Ingram before pulling clear to open his account for the new season.
Behind, Ingram enjoyed a relatively trouble-free run to secure second whilst Rory Butcher ran unchallenged in third place to net his first podium for Toyota Gazoo Racing UK.
After finishing a lowly 11th in the opening bout, Sutton came to the fore in race two as he sliced his way up the order to claim victory. Free of success ballast and with the soft tyre bolted on, the reigning champion made pass after pass before hitting the front in the latter stages.
In what has now become a familiar sight, Sutton’s charge from outside the top ten completed a turnaround which had seen him undergone an engine change after qualifying.
Turkington’s strong day around the 2.97-mile circuit continued as he bagged second place whilst the MB Motorsport with Blue Square Ford Focus of Ollie Jackson rounded out the podium, having made up a number of places at the start.
The third and final race at Snetterton saw a small piece of BTCC history made as Tom Ingram scored the first-ever win for a Hyundai in the championship.
In what was only his sixth race for new team Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com, the fan favourite muscled his way past pole-sitter Stephen Jelley shortly after mid-distance before pulling clear of the chasing pack.
Despite carrying 75kgs of success ballast, Sutton fought his way into second place at the halfway stage too and then produced a masterful defensive drive to fend of the charging Shedden, who claimed his first podium since returning to the series.
Further down the field, other notable performances included a pair of top ten finishes for Jack Goff, a charging drive for Josh Cook in race three and a maiden point for Jade Edwards – making her the first female driver in the championship to score a point since Fiona Leggate in 2006.
With the dust having settled on a frenetic second event of the season, Sutton leads the way by two points over Ingram, with Turkington a further three markers behind.
BMW have scaled to to the top of the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ leaderboard whilst Laser Tools Racing heads the Teams’ category.
Ingram and Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com are top of the table in both Independents’ Championships. Dan Rowbottom meanwhile picked up his first piece of silverware of the year having triumphed in the Jack Sears Trophy.
To view the full classification of results from Snetterton, CLICK HERE.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns to action in two weeks’ time (June 26/27) at Brands Hatch.