BTCC Croft: Chilton wins race three after wet tyre choice, Cook P2

Tom Chilton was victorious in the final British Touring Car Championship race at Croft and Jason Plato returned to the podium thanks to their respective decisions to run wet tyres

Motorbase driver Chilton capitalised on his fortune to be drawn on pole for the partially-reversed grid and was never headed on his way to the spoils, which he took in front of Josh Cook.

The Ford Focus RS driver won on the road in race three at the season opener at Brands Hatch but was penalised down to second for contact with early leader Matt Neal in that race.

But there was no uncertainty over his victory this time, as he claimed the win by using wet tyres despite the track drying in the build up to the race.

A heavy shower hit before the start, but as the cars were allowed to complete two sighting laps on their way to the grid seven drivers opted to run slick tyres.

Chilton led away from Cook at the start, but the first car on dry tyres - Tom Ingram, starting third - plummeted down to 19th come the end of the first lap.

That promoted Power Maxed Racing driver Plato up to third, and he closed on Cook and Chilton to round out a front-wheel-drive top three at a venue that has traditionally favoured rear-driven runners.

There was a brief safety car interlude when the slick-shod Volkswagen CC of Jack Goff made contact with Chris Smiley on the run through the Complex and broke his rear-left suspension, which spun him across the grass.

Chilton was again composed at the restart and never faced a genuine threat on his way to his 14th BTCC win.

Honda Civic Type R driver Cook maintained his record of scoring a podium at every venue so far in 2019, while Plato piled on the pressure to the flag to score his first podium since race one at Croft in '18.

Ashley Sutton dived down the inside of his rivals three times going into the final corner to move up from 10th on the grid to finish fourth as he recovered from a five-place grid drop for his race two collision with Smiley.

Matt Neal ended his solid weekend with fourth, finishing ahead of points leader Colin Turkington and Rory Butcher.

Race one and two winner Andrew Jordan had led Turkington, but lost out to both his team-mate and the AMD Tuning car of Butcher on the last lap as they went through Sunny when he ran wide while carrying the maximum 54kg of success ballast.

The safety car extended the race to 17 laps, but it still was not enough for Ingram to become a serious threat on slick tyres.

After dropping to the tail-end, it was only on the final lap where he snared the fastest lap.

But he did limit the damage from his tyre gamble and climbed to 16th.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell was 19th ahead of Nic Hamilton, while the next best slick runner was the WSR BMW 330i M Sport of Tom Oliphant in 23rd.

Results - 17 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Tom Chilton Motorbase Performance Ford 26m56.832s
2 Josh Cook BTC Racing Honda 0.764s
3 Jason Plato Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 1.117s
4 Ash Sutton BMR Racing Subaru 5.337s
5 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 7.012s
6 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 9.615s
7 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning Honda 10.541s
8 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 11.168s
9 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 12.475s
10 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 12.856s
11 Ollie Jackson Motorbase Performance Ford 13.209s
12 Senna Proctor BMR Racing Subaru 14.840s
13 Sam Tordoff AmD Tuning Honda 15.354s
14 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 15.889s
15 Carl Boardley Team Hard Volkswagen 20.657s
16 Tom Ingram Speedworks Motorsport Toyota 22.420s
17 Daniel Rowbottom Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 24.492s
18 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 32.648s
19 Mark Blundell Trade Price Cars Racing Audi 32.804s
20 Nicolas Hamilton Motorbase Performance Ford 39.108s
21 Sam Osborne Excelr8 Motorsport MG 39.963s
22 Rob Smith Excelr8 Motorsport MG 40.576s
23 Tom Oliphant WSR BMW 50.830s
24 Chris Smiley BTC Racing Honda 54.238s
25 Matt Simpson Simpson Racing Honda 1m12.192s
26 Rob Collard Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 1m13.562s
27 Michael Crees Team Hard Volkswagen 1m17.189s
28 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 1 Lap
- Jack Goff Team Hard Volkswagen Retirement
- Jake Hill Trade Price Cars Racing Audi Not started

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Colin Turkington 143
2 Josh Cook 132
3 Ash Sutton 130
4 Andrew Jordan 117
5 Matt Neal 115
6 Rory Butcher 113
7 Tom Chilton 111
8 Dan Cammish 97
9 Tom Ingram 96
10 Jason Plato 93
11 Jake Hill 61
12 Adam Morgan 58
13 Tom Oliphant 51
14 Rob Collard 50
15 Chris Smiley 48
16 Stephen Jelley 48
17 Sam Tordoff 39
18 Aiden Moffat 39
19 Senna Proctor 19
20 Bobby Thompson 17
21 Ollie Jackson 10
22 Jack Goff 10
23 Michael Crees 4
24 Mark Blundell 2
25 Carl Boardley 2
26 Matt Simpson 1

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