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BTCC Knockhill: Ingram exclusion hands victory to Hill

Reigning British Touring Car champion Tom Ingram crossed the finish line first at the end of a dramatic opening race at Knockhill but lost his victory to Jake Hill. 

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

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

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Ingram and his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N squad appeared to have made the right call to pull him into the pits for wet-weather tyres on the ninth lap of 24 when rain began making the circuit treacherous at the Clark/hairpin end of the course. 

A couple of safety car periods pulled those who had remained on the lead lap after pitting onto the back of the train and, as conditions worsened and those who had stayed out made belated stops or slid off the circuit, Ingram emerged in front going into the closing stages. 

The final flourish of green flags allowed just two laps of racing and began with Ingram enjoying a buffer of four lapped cars between himself and runner-up Jake Hill, who had pitted his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport one lap later than Ingram. 

Ingram crossed the line with a comfortable cushion of 4.877 seconds to Hill, but both his Hyundai and that of third-placed Tom Chilton – who was one of the earliest to pit – ran into difficulties when they failed the post-race ride-height check. 

This can happen when races start in dry conditions, turn wet and teams fit grooved rubber, on which the tread then wears down – it also occurred when Excelr8 driver Ronan Pearson finished third during the opening race weekend at Donington. 

“It’s so hard in those conditions,” said Ingram. “The last half of the circuit was wet and the first half was dry – or drier. 

“In the end, I said to ‘Spenny’ [engineer Spencer Aldridge], ‘You’re going to have to make the call mate,’ and he said, ‘Right, box this lap.’ 

“Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.” 

Hill and Ingram had been running third and fourth in a train of cars at the front of the field as poleman Ash Sutton and fellow front-row starter Josh Cook waged a thrilling battle for the lead. 

Cook got in front on the fourth lap when Sutton’s Motorbase Performace-run Ford Focus ST slid wide exiting the chicane, dropped the left-rear wheel into the gravel and slewed back onto the circuit, clipping the One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R as he did so. 

On the 11th lap, Sutton braved it out around the outside of Duffus Dip on the slippery surface, and Cook just couldn’t hold the Honda on the inside line. He clipped Sutton and that triggered a sideways slide into the barrier at the bottom of the hill. 

Sutton pitted at the end of the first safety car, triggered by Michael Crees’s Team Hard Cupra stranded at the bottom of Duffus, promoting Scottish pair Aiden Moffat and Rory Butcher to the front. 

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But, on slicks, they soon ran into trouble, and Moffat’s One Honda and Butcher’s Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla got involved with each other, Butcher also clipping Adam Morgan’s WSR BMW as he regained the track. 

With both Scots stranded on the track, the safety car was called out again. 

Through all the drama, Andrew Watson came through to fourth in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra from Stephen Jelley’s WSR BMW and the Speedworks Toyota of Ricky Collard. They were promoted to second, third and fourth with the exclusions of Ingram and Chilton. 

Late stopper Sutton made up two spots in the final two laps of green-flag racing to take seventh – fifth in the final classification – from Aron Taylor-Smith (PMR Vauxhall), Pearson and George Gamble (Speedworks Toyota). 

But Sutton and Taylor-Smith were later each penalised for passing Pearson before the start-finish line on the restart, relegating them to sixth and seventh respectively and promoting the Scot to fifth. 

Mikey Doble (PMR Vauxhall) and Dan Lloyd (Hard Cupra) completed the top 10.

Knockhill BTCC race one result

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
dq United Kingdom T. Ingram Tom Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8   Hyundai i30N 27 28'24.935        
1 United Kingdom J. Hill Jake Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport   BMW 330e M Sport 27 +4.877 4.877 72.02   20
dq United Kingdom T. Chilton Tom Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8   Hyundai i30N 27 +5.915 1.038      
2 United Kingdom A. Watson Andrew Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 27 +11.669 5.754 71.74   17
3 United Kingdom S. Jelley Stephen Jelley Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 27 +11.926 0.257 71.72   15
4 United Kingdom R. Collard Ricky Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 27 +12.442 0.516 71.70   13
5 United Kingdom A. Sutton Ashley Sutton NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 27 +13.258 0.816 71.67   11
6 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith Aron Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing   Vauxhall Astra 27 +13.799 0.541 71.65   10
7
R. Pearson Ronan Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Hyundai i30N 27 +13.968 0.169 71.64   9
8
G. Gamble George Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
  Toyota Corolla GR Sport 27 +15.405 1.437 71.58   8
9
M. Doble Mikey Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
  Vauxhall Astra 27 +16.610 1.205 71.53   7
10 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Daniel Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils   Cupra León 26 +1 Lap 1 Lap 69.53   6
11 United Kingdom C. Turkington Colin Turkington Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 26 +1 Lap 3.778 69.38   5
12
D. Patterson Dexter Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 26 +1 Lap 0.058 69.38   4
13 United Kingdom R. Huff Rob Huff Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown   Cupra León 26 +1 Lap 0.825 69.34   3
14 United Kingdom D. Cammish Dan Cammish NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 26 +1 Lap 1.081 69.30   2
15
N. Halstead Nick Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Hyundai i30N 26 +1 Lap 1.647 69.23   1
16 United Kingdom A. Morgan Adam Morgan Team BMW   BMW 330e M Sport 26 +1 Lap 2.173 69.14    
17
J. Edwards Jade Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 26 +1 Lap 1.095 69.10    
18 United Kingdom S. Osborne Sam Osborne NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 26 +1 Lap 3.191 68.97    
19
J. Butel Jack Butel Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
  Cupra León 26 +1 Lap 2.453 68.87    
20
M. Crees Michael Crees BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
  Cupra León 24 +3 Laps 2 Laps 63.80    
dnf
D. De Daryl De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
  Cupra León 19 +8 Laps 5 Laps 67.85 Retirement  
dnf United Kingdom A. Moffat Aiden Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing   Honda Civic Type R 17 +10 Laps 2 Laps 76.75 Retirement  
dnf United Kingdom R. Butcher Rory Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK   Toyota Corolla GR Sport 17 +10 Laps 0.203 76.74 Retirement  
dnf United Kingdom J. Cook Josh Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing   Honda Civic Type R 10 +17 Laps 7 Laps 83.89 Retirement  
dnf United Kingdom D. Rowbottom Daniel Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK   Ford Focus ST 0 27 laps     Retirement  

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