Tom Oliphant, Tom Ingram and Adam Morgan scored a win apiece at Brands Hatch this past weekend (June 26/27) as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship served up a feast of entertainment across Rounds 7, 8 & 9 of the 2021 campaign.
Despite not winning, Laser Tools Racing’s Ashley Sutton cemented his position at the top of the standings as he netted a trio of top eight finishes – one of which was a podium – to move three points clear at the summit.
In front of thousands of spectators, the 1.2-mile Indy circuit played host to the usual thrills and spills that have come to be expected whenever Britain’s premier motorsport series descends on the Kent venue.
Qualifying on Saturday proved to be ultra-competitive as 28 of the 29 drivers lapped the tight and twisty track within a second of each other. Come the end of a frenetic session, Dan Rowbottom edged out his Halfords Racing with Cataclean team-mate Gordon Shedden to score his first pole position in the series.
Rowbottom wouldn’t be able to convert his front row start into victory however as Team BMW’s Oliphant stormed to his second career victory. Making a sensational getaway from fourth as the lights went out, Oliphant swept into the lead as the field streamed into the first corner and then made his escape.
Building a commanding lead of more than four seconds at one stage, the West Surrey Racing driver came under late pressure from the charging Shedden but he held on to score a well-deserved victory.
After bogging down off the line and dropping down the order, Rowbottom produced a spirited fightback to claim his first-ever podium finish in the BTCC.
Oliphant came to within a lap of scoring back-to-back victories in race two before the Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai of Tom Ingram made a last-lap lunge to underline their title credentials with a second win of the season.
Ladened with 75kgs of success ballast, Oliphant valiantly led 26 of the 27 laps as he withstood race-long attacks from a number of drivers. However, heading onto the final lap, Ingram made a bold move down the inside of Paddock Hill Bend and following slight contact, completed the pass at Druids.
Reigning champion Sutton then got the run on Oliphant as they exited Clark Curve and went side-by-side with him on the drag to the line, pipping the BMW to second by just 0.038s.
Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Morgan then claimed an empathic lights-to-flag victory in the reverse grid contest. Starting from pole position, the Lancastrian didn’t put a wheel wrong as he guided his new BMW 330i M Sport to the top step of the rostrum for the first time this season.
Behind, Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct’s Jack Goff secured a maiden podium for the all-new Cupra whilst Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat finished third after a back-and-forth battle with Jason Plato in the final few laps.
At the end of a battling weekend, Sutton leads Ingram by three points in both the BTCC Drivers’ Championship and BTCC Independent Drivers’ Championship.
Laser Tools Racing hold the advantage in the BTCC Teams’ category, with Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com heading the Independent Teams’ standings.
BMW remain on top of the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ Championship whilst Rowbottom has extended his advantage in the Jack Sears Trophy.
The BTCC now enjoys a five-week break before returning to action at Oulton Park on July 31/August 1.
To view the full classification of results from all BTCC sessions at Brands Hatch, CLICK HERE.