The BTCC circus headed to Yorkshire for the seventh round of the championship with Ash Sutton coming into the round with a clear lead in the championship.
Aiden Moffatt put in a superb qualifying session to claim his first-ever BTCC pole position, alongside him is the MB Motorsport driver Jake Hill. Colin Turkington, looking to reignite his title hopes, was in third next to Senna Proctor.
Moffatt made a good start and got away from the pack, leaving Hill and Turkington to squabble for second spot. Hill was just about managing to hang on to the position, while Proctor managed to get ahead of the former champion.
Hill looked determined to get ahead of Moffatt and bumped into the back of the Infiniti as the cars headed into Sunny In, despite being a high-speed corner both of them managed to stay pointed in the right direction. The race was interrupted by a safety car on the fifth lap to recover Rowbottom’s car after he was unceremoniously punted into the barriers.
Moffatt got away cleanly on the restart and he and Hill started to pull away from the cars behind. Proctor was starting to cause a traffic jam with his defensive driving as he tried to keep Turkington behind him.
The rest of the race didn’t see much action in regards to position changes at the front of the pack. Moffatt put in a strong defensive drive to claim his first victory of the season, just ahead of Hill in second and Proctor a bit further
back in third.
Moffatt made another strong start from pole in the second race and despite running wide into the first corner held onto the lead. There was nearly drama a few corners into the lap as Cook tried to muscle his way past Turkington. The pair rubbed bodywork but both managed to keep it on the track. Hill made his move for the lead at the end of the first lap. He put his Focus around the outside of Moffatt as the cars entered the complex, giving him the inside line for the next corner. Hill hung on and took the lead of the race.
The safety car made an appearance in order to clear up the Toyota of Rory Butcher after he got involved in an incident at the last corner of the track. Oliphant also came to a stop after the rear suspension broke on his BMW.
Hill went early on the restart and managed to pull away from those behind him. The extra weight in Moffatt’s car was beginning to show as Proctor tried to find a way past. On the ninth lap, Cook made a move on his teammate to get up into third place and try and challenge Moffatt ahead of him. In the melee, Sutton tried to make a move on Turkington, but the Northern Irishman was determined to keep his place and forced Sutton out wide.
Gordon Shedden was looking to make his way up the grid and put a robust move on Sutton on the 12th lap. He forced the Infiniti out wide as they approached the Esses, allowing him and Ingram to get past. Turkington was another determined to try and get as far up the grid as he could. He managed to get alongside Cook as the cars went over the start line, but was hung out to dry and ended up taking a trip across the gravel dropping him back a few spots. In the drama, Sutton regained his positions from Shedden and Ingram as they both ran wide. Ingram managed to get his position back from Sutton on the following lap as he dived up the inside of the Infiniti as they went through the last corner.
Hill held on comfortably to take the win; Moffatt held onto second in another excellent defensive drive. Cook finished in third, holding off Ingram and Sutton just behind.
In the final race of the day, Colin Turkington was the beneficiary of the reverse grid draw as he was placed on pole ahead of Shedden in second and championship leader Sutton in third. Despite a lightning-quick start from Shedden, Turkington managed to hold onto the lead as carnage kicked off behind as no fewer than four cars were involved in a first corner shunt. The safety car was called upon to clear up the mess.
Turkington got himself a bit of a gap on the restart as Shedden tried to fend off Sutton behind.
As the top cars began to pull away the action was happening a little further down the field. Race two winner Hill was making a determined effort to hold off Adam Morgan. He tried a little too hard as he cut in front of the BMW as the cars went into the complex and caused Morgan to spin in front of the oncoming traffic. Jelley and Rowbottom came together as they tried to avoid the sideways car.
Turkington comfortably held on to the victory, and despite Sutton’s best attempts to get past, Shedden held on to the second spot. It was another good points-scoring weekend in the championship for Sutton ad he still sits at the top of the championship. Jake Hill has moved himself into second in the standings 29 points behind last year’s champion, and Turkington is slowly starting to creep back into the battle as he is just six points behind Hill.
Due to the start of the season being delayed, the teams have to swiftly patch up the cars as they head to Silverstone next weekend as the championship begins to draw to a close.
Words By Kevin Henderson | Photos: BTCC.net