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BTCC Donington: Ingram dominates rain-delayed season opener

Tom Ingram took first blood from the 2024 British Touring Car Championship season with a consummate victory in a truncated opening race at Donington Park.

Polesitter Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

After a two-hour delay due to the persistent heavy rain, the unfortunate crowd was treated to 14 laps under the safety car after the fast-starting Sam Osborne crashed heavily at the top of the Craner Curves on the opening lap when he was tapped by the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra of Aron Taylor-Smith, and the Allied Racing Ford Focus barely slowed down across the wet grass on its trip into the barriers.

Although Osborne emerged unscathed, the same could not be said of one of the marshals rebuilding the tyre wall, who fell over and needed attention from medics, which extended the caution while he was attended to and left time for just six laps of racing.

That was probably just as well – Ingram probably enjoyed driving his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N around at the front of the field, but he was vastly superior to the rest of the field.

With one lap remaining Ingram was 2.652 seconds in front, before that was trimmed to 2.485s as he took the chequered flag.

Ingram’s only threat came at the initial start, when the West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport of Colin Turkington made a rapid getaway from third on the grid to nose alongside – and briefly ahead of – the Hyundai.

But Turkington was on the outside line for Redgate, allowing team-mate Jake Hill a free run into second place on the inside.

Turkington then fell victim to the NAPA-liveried Allied Ford of Ash Sutton, who gave the BMW a slight nudge at the Old Hairpin and then accelerated around the outside at Schwantz Curve and into third spot.

Hill kept Sutton at bay for two laps following the restart, before an error when he lost the rear of the BMW allowed the Ford to get up the inside at Coppice and then complete the move into the chicane to take the runner-up position.

“In conditions like that, you’re actually in a weird kind of way quite happy it’s a reduced-distance race,” said Ingram, “because the circuit was changing every lap.

“It was a fairly unique set of circumstances in the sense that we all had hybrid every single racing lap, and as a starting point, it was spot-on. Pole, win the first race, fastest lap, happy days.”

Behind Turkington, Ronan Pearson continued his excellent weekend to run fifth all the way in his Excelr8 Hyundai, but it wasn’t such a pleasant story for his partner on the third row: Andrew Watson.

The Speedworks Motorsport Toyota-driving Northern Irishman dropped out of the top 10 on the final lap at the hands of the sister Corolla of Aiden Moffat, and instead, it was Moffat’s fellow LKQ Toyota runner Josh Cook who sliced his way up to sixth.

Next up were Taylor-Smith, Adam Morgan (WSR BMW), Dan Cammish (Allied Ford) and Moffat.

Rob Huff was in the entertaining midfield battle with Cammish and Moffat, only for the Allied Ford of Dan Rowbottom to run into Mikey Doble at the Old Hairpin, with the PMR Vauxhall unable to avoid harpooning Huff’s Speedworks Toyota for a trip through the gravel.

BTCC Donington Race One results

   
1
 - 
4
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 United Kingdom T. Ingram Team Bristol Street Motors   Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 21

32'23.071

      20
2 United Kingdom A. Sutton NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 21

+2.485

32'25.556

2.485     17
3 United Kingdom J. Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport   BMW 330e M Sport 21

+4.239

32'27.310

1.754     15
4 United Kingdom C. Turkington Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 21

+8.148

32'31.219

3.909     13
5
R. Pearson Team Bristol Street Motors
  Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 21

+9.153

32'32.224

1.005     11
6 United Kingdom J. Cook LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 21

+11.511

32'34.582

2.358     10
7 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 21

+13.249

32'36.320

1.738     9
8 United Kingdom A. Morgan Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 21

+13.876

32'36.947

0.627     8
9 United Kingdom D. Cammish NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 21

+14.382

32'37.453

0.506     7
10 United Kingdom A. Moffat LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 21

+19.036

32'42.107

4.654     6
11 United Kingdom A. Watson Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 21

+19.488

32'42.559

0.452     5
12 United Kingdom T. Chilton Team Bristol Street Motors   Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 21

+20.750

32'43.821

1.262     4
13
M. Doble Evans Halshaw Power Maxed Racing
  Vauxhall Astra 21

+23.198

32'46.269

2.448     3
14
D. De Unlimited Motorsport
  Cupra León 21

+23.666

32'46.737

0.468     2
15 United Kingdom C. Smiley Restart Racing   Cupra León 21

+24.629

32'47.700

0.963     1
16
N. Halstead Team Bristol Street Motors
  Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 21

+26.388

32'49.459

1.759      
17
S. Sumpton Restart Racing
  Cupra León 21

+27.047

32'50.118

0.659      
18 United Kingdom R. Huff Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 21

+27.259

32'50.330

0.212      
19 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 20

 

       
dnf United Kingdom S. Osborne NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 0

 

    Retirement  

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