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Race report
BTCC Donington

BTCC Donington Park: Cammish beats Hill in thriller

One day after his team-mates claimed the glory in qualifying, Dan Cammish took victory in a thrilling opening race of the British Touring Car Championship season at Donington Park.

Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

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Cammish emerged on top after a race-long battle with Jake Hill in wet conditions, and managed to work his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST past the West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport of Hill on the 19th of what became 21 laps of racing.

Hill had emerged relatively unscathed from contact with the front-row-sitting Motorbase Fords off the grid at the start of the race.

While poleman Dan Rowbottom made a sluggish getaway, team-mate Ash Sutton was also prone to the fast-starting rear-wheel-drive BMW of Hill.

Hill was pincered between them, and slight contact with Rowbottom deflected him into Sutton, who was forced onto the grass on the approach to the first corner.

Colin Turkington snuck through to briefly make it a 1-2 for the WSR BMW team, but had the Fords of Rowbottom and Cammish gnashing at his rear bumper into the Old Hairpin and ran wide, dropping into the midfield.

The safety car emerged at the end of the opening lap due to Tom Chilton being parked off the track at Schwantz Curve, and Sutton, who was still running in the leading bunch, dived for the pits and retirement following his off.

Chilton managed to get going again so the safety car period was only brief, and at the restart Hill led Cammish and the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of reigning champion Tom Ingram.

Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The leading trio ran close throughout, via another safety car to retrieve Nick Halstead’s Hyundai from the Old Hairpin gravel, but Hill was clearly struggling for grip and was holding up Cammish and Ingram.

Remarkably, this enabled Andrew Watson, who had chiselled his way past Rowbottom at half-distance for fourth, to latch onto the leading group on his BTCC debut at the wheel of a Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.

In doing so, Watson was the first to use up his allocation of hybrid, but still spent the final laps climbing all over the rear of Ingram.

Ahead of them, Cammish got a cutback after Hill had defended into Redgate, the duo running side by side on the Craner Curves before the Ford moved in front at the Old Hairpin.

Cammish scampered to victory by 2.114 seconds, while Hill just fended off Ingram, who was the only one of the leading quartet to have any hybrid boost left on the final lap and drew alongside the BMW on the run to the finish line.

“I always back myself on a rainy day,” said Cammish. “It was difficult on the first lap – we all checked up at the Old Hairpin and there’s not a lot you can do about it, but luckily I was OK.

“It was a great race by Jake – there’s not many rear-wheel-drive drivers who could keep it going like that in those conditions.”

Hill added: “At the end my rear tyres were so gone it was unreal – a good job I had a load of practice in a Capri last week [at the Goodwood Members Meeting]!”

Behind Watson and Rowbottom, Ricky Collard worked his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla past the very muddy WSR BMW of Adam Morgan with a few laps remaining to take a strong sixth place.

George Gamble did a good job from mid-grid to make it two Speedworks Toyotas in the top eight, while Josh Cook starred after slipping off the road at Redgate following the first restart by charging his One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R up the order from 23rd to ninth.

Aron Taylor-Smith (PMR Vauxhall) took the final spot in the top 10 ahead of Rory Butcher and Turkington, after Dan Lloyd (Team Hard Cupra) and debutant Ronan Pearson (Excelr8 Hyundai) both ran off the road while in the leading 10 positions.

BTCC Donington Park - Race 1 results (21 laps)

 Cla   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Gap
1 Dan Cammish Ford 29'16.715  
2 Jake Hill BMW 29'18.829 2.114
3 Tom Ingram Hyundai 29'18.922 2.207
4 Andrew Watson Vauxhall/TOCA 29'19.329 2.614
5 Dan Rowbottom Ford 29'23.065 6.350
6 Ricky Collard Toyota 29'25.772 9.057
7 Adam Morgan BMW 29'30.622 13.907
8 George Gamble Toyota 29'30.772 14.057
9 Josh Cook Honda 29'30.998 14.283
10 Árón T.-Smith Vauxhall/TOCA 29'31.406 14.691
11 Rory Butcher Toyota 29'32.022 15.307
12 Colin Turkington BMW 29'32.712 15.997
13 Aiden Moffat Honda 29'34.489 17.774
14 Dexter Patterson Cupra/TOCA 29'38.370 21.655
15 Tom Chilton Hyundai 29'38.953 22.238
16 Bobby Thompson Cupra/TOCA 29'40.000 23.285
17 Sam Osborne Ford 29'40.705 23.990
  5-second penalty for out of position start
18 Will Powell Honda 29'41.238 24.523
19 Dan Lloyd Cupra/TOCA 29'41.538 24.823
20 Mikey Doble Vauxhall/TOCA 29'48.519 31.804
21 Nicolas Hamilton Cupra/TOCA 29'54.207 37.492
22 Stephen Jelley BMW 30'01.970 45.255
23 Jack Butel Cupra/TOCA 30'03.472 46.757
24 Ronan Pearson Hyundai 30'29.330 1 lap /1'12.615
 
  Nick Halstead Hyundai 4'50.788 Retirement
  Ash Sutton Ford 1'26.986 Retirement
  Jade Edwards Cupra/TOCA - Retirement

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