Tom Ingram and Stephen Jelley shared the spoils on what was an action-packed weekend (June 11/12) in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park.
Ingram was perfection personified as he scored victory in races one and two before Jelley came to the fore in a blockbuster reverse grid contest around the Cheshire venue; however it is Josh Cook that remains at the top of the points.
One of the most exciting qualifying sessions of the season built towards a breathtaking climax on Saturday, as a number of the BTCC’s big hitters battled for the right to start at the head of the field the following day.
Despite there being a brief red flag stoppage, nobody could stop Ingram from claiming pole position. At the wheel of his Hyundai i30N, the Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com driver set a best time of 1:25.468 to not only claim top spot but also set a brand new lap record around the 2.22-mile circuit.
Rory Butcher emerged as the closest challenger to Ingram as he guided his Toyota Corolla to the outside of the front row, whilst Dan Lloyd, Adam Morgan and Ash Sutton rounded out the top five.
Despite being one of the most successful drivers on the grid, Ingram had never previously scored a podium at Oulton Park; that was until Sunday’s first race where he broke his duck in style.
Defending his lead off the line and through turn one, Ingram soon pulled clear of the chasing pack to score a commanding victory. Behind, Sutton produced a string of sensational overtakes to claim second, with Butcher following him to round out the podium.
Ingram doubled his win tally for the day as he produced a carbon copy drive in race two. Holding the lead as the lights went out, the Hyundai ace didn’t put a wheel wrong as he chalked up his third win of the year ahead of the ever-consistent Sutton, who finished in second once again.
The battle for the final step on the podium had plenty on the edge of their seats with Butcher initially fending off the charging Colin Turkington. As the laps ticked by, the WSR driver ramped up the pressure on the Scotsman and finally took third at mid-distance.
Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley then scored his first win of the season in an action-packed reverse grid race, delivering a measured drive whilst it all kicked off behind him.
Contact between Lloyd and Ricky Collard sent the former spinning on the run towards Hislops and when he re-entered the track he was collected by Turkington, with a number of others including Ingram and Sutton getting caught up in the incident. Thankfully both Lloyd and Turkington walked away from the incident without injury, just soreness and bruising.
After a number of laps behind the safety car the race restarted with Jelley breaking clear of Aiden Moffat and Collard, who had been hit with a five-second time penalty for a false start. Cook would become the main beneficiary of Collard’s demise in the end, inheriting third to maintain his series lead.
Approaching the halfway point in the season, Cook holds a 15-point advantage at the summit of the BTCC Drivers’ Championship whilst he and Rich Energy BTC Racing continue to lead the way in the Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ categories.
Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com remain in control of the Teams’ standings, with Motorbase/Ford having now moved into the lead of the Manufacturers’ battle.
Jade Edwards was the winner of the Jack Sears Trophy for the weekend however it is Bobby Thompson that continues to head the standings.
To view the full classification of results from all BTCC sessions at Oulton Park, CLICK HERE.
Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on June 25/26, with tickets currently available to purchase online HERE.