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Race report
BTCC Brands Hatch

BTCC Brands Hatch: Turkington wins opener red-flagged after pile-up

Four-time champion Colin Turkington opened his British Touring Car Championship wins account for 2023 with a lights-to-flag victory in a delayed opening race of the day at Brands Hatch.

Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport

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Turkington, with the soft option tyres fitted to his West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport, got the launch from second on the grid, but the problem was he had to do it twice.

That was due to a four-car pile-up at the end of the opening lap that caused a delay of almost an hour for barrier repairs to be carried out.

Turkington had only just cleared the polesitting Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST of Dan Cammish at the first start, but at the second attempt it was much more clear cut.

Cammish bemoaned making a mess of his getaways and bogging down, and such was the extent of this that he was down to fourth by Paddock Hill Bend behind the WSR BMWs of Turkington and Jake Hill, plus his Motorbase Ford team-mate Ash Sutton.

Sutton wasn’t finished yet, and filled a chink of light on the inside of Hill at Clearways at the end of the opening lap.

Hill attempted to fight back along the start-finish straight, but that left the door open for championship leader Cammish to move back up to third.

Sutton was on the regular medium tyre but had more hybrid use available to him than the rest of the top four – he set fastest laps on the second and third tours as he closed the gap to Turkington, but by quarter-distance Turkington was beginning to pull away again.

The gap at the front went out as far as 1.544 seconds before Turkington took victory by 1.335s.

Sutton came under pressure from the resurgent Cammish, who like Turkington was using the option tyres, but held firm to secure second place.

Crash, Adam Morgan, Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport, Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST,  Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra,  Stephen Jelley, Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport

Crash, Adam Morgan, Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport, Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST, Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, Stephen Jelley, Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“The car was awesome in that race,” said Turkington. “I suppose we took a chance on the soft tyre, but it gave a really nice balance – the car was fast.

“I had no idea if it was Dan or Ash behind – I just got my head down.”

Hill dropped back from the leading trio and for a while he was having to fend off the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla of Rory Butcher and Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of reigning champion Tom Ingram.

But Hill drew away into a lonely fourth place while Butcher, using the option tyres, had his hands full defending from Ingram.

The race’s best battle was resolved on the 16th lap of 18 when Ingram lunged Butcher down the inside of Paddock Hill Bend to take fifth spot.

Their fight had brought Bobby Thompson into contention, and the Team Hard Cupra Leon driver further demoted Butcher into Druids on the penultimate lap to take sixth.

Josh Cook was a distant eighth in his One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R, while Ricky Collard worked his Speedworks Toyota past Dan Lloyd’s Hard Cupra with seven laps to go, this duo completing the top 10.

The race-stopping shunt originated when Dan Rowbottom got a slight overlap with his Motorbase Ford on Stephen Jelley’s WSR BMW as they fought for 15th place at Clark Curve, but there was contact and Jelley was fired into the pitlane barrier before bouncing into the track.

Rowbottom, in turn, was smacked hard by the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall of Andrew Watson, while Jelley’s team-mate Adam Morgan was also collected.

BTCC Brands Hatch Race 1 results (18 laps):

Cla Driver Gap
1 United Kingdom Colin Turkington  
2 United Kingdom Ashley Sutton 1.335
3 United Kingdom Dan Cammish 1.716
4 United Kingdom Jake Hill 5.712
5 United Kingdom Tom Ingram 9.592
6 Bobby Thompson 11.010
7 United Kingdom Rory Butcher 11.779
8 United Kingdom Josh Cook 14.125
9 United Kingdom Ricky Collard 14.634
10 United Kingdom Daniel Lloyd 16.652
11 George Gamble 21.400
12 Ireland Aron Taylor-Smith 23.360
13 United Kingdom Aiden Moffat 24.103
14 United Kingdom Sam Osborne 24.287
15 United Kingdom Tom Chilton 24.629
16 Ronan Pearson 24.976
17 Dexter Patterson 25.319
18 Jack Butel 25.576
19 Mikey Doble 26.427
20 Jade Edwards 30.103
21 Nicolas Hamilton 30.838
22 Will Powell 33.150
23 Nick Halstead 33.872
24 United Kingdom Stephen Jelley  
25 United Kingdom Daniel Rowbottom  
26 United Kingdom Andrew Watson  
27 United Kingdom Adam Morgan  

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