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Race report
BTCC Donington Grand Prix Circuit

BTCC Donington Park: Sutton wins opener as Ingram pips Hill

Ash Sutton extended his British Touring Car Championship lead with a crushing victory in wet conditions in the first race of the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit round.

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The three-time champion worked his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST around the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of reigning title holder Tom Ingram on the second lap, and disappeared into the distance.

But Ingram placed his car perfectly over the final tour; Hill tried the long way round the final Goddards hairpin, the two cars brushed panels as they raced to the line, and Ingram held on by a mere 0.049s.

After the race, Ingram was then given a 0.5s penalty for ‘not leaving a cars [sic] width to the edge of the circuit’ while Hill attempted to pass him, dropping him to third behind the BMW driver.

Sutton had qualified on pole, but a poor getaway allowed fellow front-row starter Ingram in front, while third-on-grid Ricky Collard also got ahead of the Ford in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla.

Ingram got a bit of a slide on at the Old Hairpin, and this appeared to check Collard’s momentum, allowing Sutton to accelerate ahead of the Toyota and into second place.

One and a half laps later, Sutton got down the inside of Ingram at the Melbourne hairpin to grab the lead.

Sutton set a succession of fastest laps as he built up his advantage, and eventually crossed the line 7.178 seconds to the good.

“I couldn’t afford to back off because then you make mistakes; you have to stay in the zone,” said Sutton.

“As we saw at Knockhill race three in the rain, this car’s so good it’s like someone’s cut a groove in the track and away we go.

“I cocked the start up so I had to fight for it, but once I got ahead I got my head down and I was away.”

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

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

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

With the victory in no doubt, attentions turned to Hill, who started ninth thanks to a three-place grid penalty.

The diminutive Kentishman lost time in the first couple of laps embroiled in an unruly mob, and was even down to 10th by the end of lap two.

Once he had wriggled through that scrum and into eighth place, Hill began to hunt down the cars in front.

On lap five he grabbed seventh place off team-mate Adam Morgan into Coppice, then gained on the group ahead.

Hill got past Josh Cook’s One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R on the straight after Coppice on the ninth lap of 14 to snatch sixth; one lap later he went past Aron Taylor-Smith’s Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra at Coppice for fifth; next time around he nabbed fourth at the same spot from team-mate Colin Turkington; and then on the following tour he did it again to relieve Collard of third.

There were now just over two laps remaining for Hill to catch runner-up Ingram. With a flapping rear bumper, legacy of early-race contact with Dan Rowbottom, Hill had been setting quicker late-race laptimes than Sutton, and he was with the Hyundai in little more than a lap.

But Ingram placed his car perfectly over the final tour; Hill tried the long way round the final Goddards hairpin, the two cars brushed panels as they raced to the line, and Ingram held on by a mere 0.049s.

Behind Collard, Turkington, Taylor-Smith and Cook, Rowbottom’s Motorbase Ford and Andrew Watson’s PMR Vauxhall were running very quickly late in the race. The bearded Midlander and bespectacled Northern Irishman caught the group ahead, but no positions changed hands.

Tom Chilton completed the top 10 in his Excelr8 Hyundai.

BTCC Donington Park Race 1 results

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 United Kingdom A. Sutton Ashley Sutton NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 14 24'26.799       20
2 United Kingdom T. Ingram Tom Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8   Hyundai i30N 14 +7.178 7.178     17
3 United Kingdom J. Hill Jake Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport   BMW 330e M Sport 14 +7.227 0.049     15
4 United Kingdom R. Collard Ricky Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 14 +8.934 1.707     13
5 United Kingdom C. Turkington Colin Turkington Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 14 +9.636 0.702     11
6 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith Aron Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 14 +11.987 2.351     10
7 United Kingdom J. Cook Josh Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing   Honda Civic Type R 14 +12.662 0.675     9
8 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom Daniel Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 14 +13.229 0.567     8
9 United Kingdom A. Watson Andrew Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 14 +14.010 0.781     7
10 United Kingdom T. Chilton Tom Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8   Hyundai i30N 14 +20.666 6.656     6
11 United Kingdom R. Butcher Rory Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 14 +23.698 3.032     5
12 United Kingdom A. Morgan Adam Morgan Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 14 +25.616 1.918     4
13
G. Gamble George Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
  Toyota Corolla GR Sport 14 +26.082 0.466     3
14
R. Pearson Ronan Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Hyundai i30N 14 +27.120 1.038     2
15 United Kingdom S. Osborne Sam Osborne NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 14 +28.058 0.938     1
16
M. Doble Mikey Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
  Vauxhall Astra 14 +34.692 6.634      
17 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Daniel Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils   Cupra León 14 +35.120 0.428      
18 United Kingdom A. Moffat Aiden Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing   Honda Civic Type R 14 +37.900 2.780      
19 United Kingdom S. Jelley Stephen Jelley Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 14 +38.057 0.157      
20
M. Crees Michael Crees BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Cupra León 14 +39.120 1.063      
21
D. Patterson Dexter Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 14 +39.698 0.578      
22
D. De Daryl De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 14 +40.164 0.466      
23
J. Butel Jack Butel Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
  Cupra León 14 +46.346 6.182      
24
N. Halstead Nick Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Hyundai i30N 14 +47.346 1.000      
25
J. Edwards Jade Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 13 1 lap        

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