The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship blasted back into life in spectacular fashion at Knockhill this past weekend (July 30/31) as Jake Hill, Ashley Sutton and George Gamble each scored victory.
Kicking off the second half of the season with its annual trip north of the border, the UK’s premier motor sport series served up three pulsating races for the bumper crowd that had flocked trackside.
As expected, qualifying proved to be an ultra-competitive affair with the top 24 being covered by less than a second. At the top of the times, ROKiT MB Motorsport’s Hill proved to be the benchmark as he secured his second pole position of the season in style.
The BMW driver punched in no fewer than three laps that were quicker than all of his rivals and under the existing race lap record to clinch top spot. Reigning champion Ash Sutton meanwhile hauled his Ford Focus onto the front row ahead of a quartet of rear-wheel-drive cars.
Race one proved to be a modern-day classic as Hill got the better of Sutton to clinch his second win of the year. Holding the lead off the line, Hill held on for much of the opening tour before Sutton made a stunning move around the outside of Duffus Dip to take the lead.
Inseparable throughout the opening exchanges, Hill ramped up his pursuit of the three-time title winner and made a move stick for first approaching mid-distance. Once out front there was no stopping the WSR man as he pulled clear to win ahead of Sutton and Colin Turkington.
Sutton wasn’t to be denied his first win of the season in a pulsating second contest. In a repeat of the day’s earlier race, the NAPA Racing UK driver filled the mirrors of Hill in the early exchanges and charged past on lap five exiting the chicane as the race one victor made a slight mistake.
Once out front the 28-year-old was pinpoint perfect, withstanding waves of pressure from both Hill and Turkington to secure his maiden win in the hybrid era.
Former two-time champion John Cleland drew Gamble onto pole for the reverse grid bout, a race that had everyone in attendance on the edge of their seats once again.
Getting a perfect launch as the lights went out, the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport driver didn’t put a wheel wrong for the entirety of the 24-lap contest to claim his first-ever win in the BTCC.
Behind, Butcher – who launched an early challenge to Gamble during the opening laps – could do nothing to stop Hill who claimed second however the Scotsman was able to fend off the late advances of Turkington and Sutton to net a podium on home soil.
Leaving Knockhill, Turkington holds the advantage at the summit of the BTCC Drivers’ Championship whilst Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com lead the way in the BTCC Teams’ Championship standings.
Josh Cook and Rich Energy BTC Racing continue to top the Independent Drivers’ and Independent Teams’ categories, with BMW setting the pace in the Manufacturer-Constructors’ leaderboard. Gamble’s dream day also saw him to close to within five points of Bobby Thompson in the Jack Sears Trophy.
To view the full classification of results from all sessions at Knockhill, CLICK HERE.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship continues in less than two weeks’ time as Rounds 19, 20 & 21 take place at Snetterton on August 13/14.