BTCC | RDS 13/14/15 – KNOCK HILL 202116/08/2021
The BTCC returned north of the border for its annual visit to Scotland and rounds 13, 14 and 15 at Knockhill. Colin Turkington put his poor results at Oulton Park to the back of his mind and put his WSR BMW on pole position for the first race on Sunday in an attempt to catch up on his championship rivals. Alongside him was Senna Proctor, once more showing good qualifying form, and just behind was Chris Smiley and Josh Cook.
The first race saw Turkington make a blistering start and immediately pull clear of Proctor. The first few laps didn’t see many position changes, but on the fourth lap, the safety car was brought out as Dan Lloyd ended up going through the gravel trap and into the barriers after something broke on the car as he went over the kerbs. Turkington went early on the restart and again saw him pull a gap on Proctor in second. The battles were appearing further down the field as Tom Ingram and Gordon Shedden battled it out for eighth and ninth spot, the Scotsman managing to finally get ahead on lap 14.
Championship leader Sutton looked determined to take as many points as possible, he hustled Jake Hill through a few corners before dive bombing up the inside of the Ford for fifth spot. He soon set his sights on Cook and Smiley in front as they were holding each other up as Cook tried desperately to get the final podium spot.
Cook saw Sutton in his mirrors and decided to make his move on Smiley sending his Honda smoothly up the inside, this opened the door for Sutton who managed to get ahead of Smiley at the final corner. This is how the positions stayed for the remaining few laps, with Turkington taking victory to claim WSR’s 100th win in the BTCC. The only notable overtake being Rory Butcher getting ahead of Ingram, meaning the Hyundai driver would lose more points to his championship rival Ash Sutton.
There was drama off the start line in race two as Chris Smiley failed to get his Hyundai moving off the grid, the pack managed to avoid him for the most part with Sam Smelt taking an advertising hoarding with him in avoidance and Nicholas Hamilton got turned around and into the wall bringing out the first safety car of the day. Before the safety car boards came out, Josh Cook and Ash Sutton both managed to get themselves ahead of Proctor and into second and third spots.
Turkington once again pulled clear from the restart as Cook was left having to defend from Sutton just behind. Sutton’s persistence paid off on the ninth lap as he made a late move at the last corner to get his Infiniti ahead of the BTC Honda and in pursuit of Turkington. Sutton started putting in fastest laps and soon caught onto the tail of Turkington, he tried to get around the outside of the Northern Irishman at the last corner, but Turkington held firm and ran Sutton out wide.
Photo: Ash Sutton Social Channels / Laser Tools Racing
The safety car made another appearance towards the end of the race as Butcher ended up having a high speed off. He managed to get himself just in front of Aiden Moffatt going into the first corner but as he turned in his fellow Scotsman was still just about alongside and it sent the Toyota spearing into the tyre wall.
The restart saw Turkington and Sutton pull away as behind them sat Rick Parfitt, he was a lap down after spinning off and as there were yellow flags still being waved for the Butcher car in the gravel at the first corner, Jake Hill got held up as he couldn’t get ahead of the backmarker. Sutton’s pressure finally paid off on the last lap as Turkington made a rare mistake and ran wide at the chicane allowing Sutton to take the win ahead of Turkington and Hill.
Photo: Ash Sutton Social Channels / Laser Tools Racing
The reverse grid draw saw Stephen Jelley sat on pole position with veteran Jason Plato alongside, with Proctor and Ingram on row two. Jelley made the most of his pole position and got himself a small lead ahead of Plato as they got around the first lap, Ingram also made a place up on Proctor as he tried to bank as many points as possible to aid his championship challenge. The safety car was brought out on the third lap as Josh Cook broke down and his car had to be recovered.
Ingram’s patience paid off on the tenth lap as Plato locked up at the last corner, Ingram saw his opportunity to get ahead and into second, with Senna Proctor also squeezing himself up the inside of the Astra. Having been put offline, Hill and Shedden took the opportunity to also get ahead of Plato, who is still looking for his 100th BTCC victory. Ingram then pounced to take the lead at the end of lap 17. he once again saw an opportunity going into the last corner and dove up the inside of Stephen Jelley, much like the move on Plato, Proctor also took advantage and made his way into second.
Ingram held on to victory with Senna Proctor in second, Jelley took the final podium spot. Just behind Ash Sutton took fifth with a good haul of points to consolidate his championship lead.
Ash Sutton still leads the championship on 172 points, Ingram is still in pursuit on 158 points. A consistent weekend, including a victory, sees Turkington push his way into the championship battle in third in the standings.
The championship makes its second visit to Thruxton in two weeks time as the championship heads into the second half of the season.
Words By Kevin Henderson | Feature Photo: BTCC