The second race meeting of the British Touring Car Championship took place at Donington Park on the 28th/29th April. The weekend saw a new pole sitter for this season as well as three different winners during the races, resulting in five different winners so far. Josh Cook, Tom Ingram and Adam Morgan took a win each. Speedworks Motorsport’s Ingram is the only driver to get two wins during the 2018 season so far. The average age of the three winners from Donington Park is just twenty-six years, the three wowed the crowds of thousands of spectators around the circuit on race day which more than made up for the weather fans had braced on the Saturday.
Qualifying saw Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Josh Cook take pole position in one of the two Vauxhall Astra’s with BTC Norlin Racing’s Chris Smiley alongside on the grid in second aboard his Honda Civic Type R, his best qualifying yet in the BTCC. Third on the grid went to Sam Tordoff at the wheel of the Team GardX Racing with Motorbase’s Ford Focus RS ahead of Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish in one of the new for 2018 Honda Civic Type Rs. Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat qualified his Mercedes in fifth ahead of Wix Racing with Eurotech’s Jack Goff alongside in sixth aboard his Honda Civic Type R. BTC Norlin Racing’s second Honda in the hands of returning BTCC racer James Nash finished the qualifying session in seventh ahead of Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Tom Chilton in eighth. Wix Racing with Eurotech’s #39 Honda Civic Type R in the hands of Brett Smith qualified in ninth with Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant rounding out the top ten.
Race one saw Josh Cook take his first victory in the 2018 season ahead of Cammish in second and Moffat in third. Initially Cook got a great start but second placed Chris Smiley got the jump as they headed into turn one at Redgate to briefly snatch the lead, followed through by Tordoff. Lap two saw Cook back in the lead of the race with Cammish having passed Tordoff and Smiley to be running in second place ahead of Tordoff in third, Moffat in fourth and Smiley in fourth.
Smiley was holding out well before Brett Smith pounced and demoted the BTC Norlin driver to sixth. Lap five saw Jack Goff, James Cole, Colin Turkington, Senna Proctor and Tom Ingram all battling for seventh place. Half a lap later the battle got a tad too close with Turkington receiving contact forcing him take to the grass.
Three laps later saw Goff leading a train of half a dozen cars as they all wanted to break inside the top ten with the Honda driver holding his position in tenth. On lap fourteen the order up the front was; Cook, Cammish, Moffat, Smith, Cole, Neal, Smiley, Proctor, Oliphant and Turkington in the top ten which is how the race ended.
After the race Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Senna Proctor was handed his third strike of the season for an incident involving Team BMW’s Colin Turkington. As a result of his third strike the youngster will start the second race from the back of the grid. The only driver to not finish the race was Team GardX Racing with Motorbase’s Sam Tordoff as he retired in the pits after completing just ten racing laps.
Race two of the day saw championship leader Tom Ingram take victory after starting in thirteenth on the grid. Chris Smiley was immensely happy with how he drove in the second race as he took both his and BTC Norlin Racing’s first ever podium in the BTCC. Jack Goff completed the overall podium in third.
At the start of the second race it was Dan Cammish who got a rocket start and found himself in the lead, he soon found himself struggling to hang on to the lead as he was battling against the harder compound tyre. Drivers on the Dunlop Sportmaxx Prime tyre were able to storm their way through. Smiley and Ingram were both on the prime tyre and at about half race distance they began putting Cammish under immense pressure, Ingram followed Smiley through as they both passed the leader. Smiley then ran wide on lap ten, allowing Ingram to see his opportunity to pass and take over the lead of the race on the run down to the final chicane.
Jack Goff rounded out the podium in third after starting in twelfth. Cammish drove his Honda to the best of his ability to take fourth. Adam Morgan finished the second race in fifth ahead of James Cole in sixth, race one winner Josh Cook in seventh and reigning champion Ashley Sutton in eighth. Ninth place went to Rory Butcher with Tom Chilton rounding out the top ten.
Three drivers failed to complete the race, those being; BTC Norlin Racing’s James Nash after completing no laps, Team BMW’s Colin Turkington and AMD with Cobra Exhausts’ Sam Smelt who both completed eight laps of the race.
Jack Goff was the ony driver to be penalized in the second race of the weekend after receiving his second strike for an incident with Josh Cook.
After race two Jonathan Palmer, the boss of MSV circuits completed the reverse grid draw for the final race of the day. He pulled out number nine, promoting Rory Butcher on to pole position for the final race.
Initially Butcher held on to the lead of the race as the field launched off the line at the start. Reigning champion Ashley Sutton and Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan managed to pass the MG racer before the end of lap one. Drama surfaced through the pack as Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Senna Proctor, Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s James Cole, Team GardX Racing with Motorbase’s Sam Tordoff, Wix Racing with Eurotech’s Brett Smith and Autoglym Academy’s Josh Price all saw their races ended on the opening lap of the race. Due to the multi car collision and the number of stranded cars around the circuit a safety car was called out to allow the cars to be moved to a safe place.
On lap eight Morgan made his all important move to take the lead of the race from reigning champion Sutton. The latter then fell into the clutches of the chasing pack. Morgan took the win from Josh Cook in second and Aiden Moffat rounding out the overall podium in third place. Team BMW’s Rob Collard finished the final race in fourth ahead of fellow BMW racer Andrew Jordan aboard the BMW Pirtek Racing 1-series. Sutton completed the race to take sixth ahead of Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal in seventh and Tom Ingram in eighth. Ninth place went to Tom Chilton with Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing’s Jake Hill rounding out the top ten.
Seven drivers did not manage to finish the race, those being; Price, Smith, Cole and Tordoff who did not complete any laps, Proctor finished one lap before retiring in the pit lane, Tom Boardman retired his MG after ten laps of the race and Dan Cammish only completed eleven laps before retiring. BTC Norlin Racing’s Chris Smiley was not classified in the results after completing fifteen laps of the race.
Upon leaving Donington Park Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram leads the Drivers’ standings by seven points from Adam Morgan with Josh Cook a further eight points behind in third.
The Power Maxed TAG Racing team running Vauxhall’s currently lead the Manufacturers’ standings as well as the Teams’ championship standings.
Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport lead the Independents’ standings. Dan Cammish currently leads the Jack Sears Trophy.
Jake Hill currently sits at the top of Dunlop’s #ForeverForward standings as he has been the driver to make the most passes so far this season.
The next round of the season takes place at Thruxton, located in Hampshire on the 19th/20th May.
© Fay Tilley 2018