Tom Ingram took a dominant reverse grid race 3 victory in Round 21 of the British Touring Car Championship. Starting 3rd on the grid, Ingram passed the slow starting Rory Butcher off the line, and quickly set his sights on passed the AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts’ Audi of pole-sitter Ant Whorton-Eales. It was all too easy for Ingram to take the lead, as the lead pair came up over the crested chicane, Whorton-Eales got his line completely wrong, causing him to slow massively, Ingram passed him easily, and he was then tapped in the left rear by Rory Butcher, causing damage that sent the Audi heading for the pit lane. From them, Ingram never looked back, setting multiple fastest laps, including the fastest of the race – a time of 52.045 seconds, into building a gap that was at one point 8 seconds to second place.
Second place in the end went to local hero Gordon Shedden, who made his way up the order, like Ingram did, at the start of the race, before the dominant rear wheel drive cars inevitably caught them up. It was not made easy for the Scotsman, with the Team BMW duo of Rob Collard and Colin Turkington hounding the triple champion for much of the race. Collard thought he’d made the pass when he slipped up the inside of Shedden into Duffus Dip, only for Shedden to respond by taking the place back later in the lap at Clarks. From then on the Scotsman produced a defensive masterclass to hold Turkington behind.
Ashley Sutton finished in fourth, behind Turkington, ahead of team mates James Cole, who let Sutton past on the run up to the line, and Jason Plato finishing in P6. Mat Jackson produced another impressive drive, benefiting from others mishaps, but moving from P16 on the grid to finished 7th place. Matt Neal finished 8th, ahead of Rory Butcher, who although being shifted down the field, still managed another top 10 finish on his debut weekend. Another man who was shifted down the field was Dave Newsham, who rounded out the top 10.
2 Safety Cars couldn’t stop Ingram!
Ingram survived losing his lead gap twice due to two safety cars. The first was brought about by Ollie Jackson’s Audi stopping at the hairpin on Lap 15. Although, in typical fashion, once the safety car had been deployed, Jackson’s car sparked back into life, enough to get the Audi to the pits, to retire. This meant the safety car only remained on track for 1 lap, but was still enough to ruin Ingram’s lead. The Speedworks Motorsport driver made good his escape on the restart, and set off to re-establish his gap to Shedden, who was busy defending from, at the time, from both Team BMW cars.
This would not last long, however, as Will Burns speared straight into the barrier at the hairpin at high speed, which would suggest a break failure of some kind. Burns was shown to be walking away from the car under his own power after a lengthy wait, so hopefully is okay. Ingram was then left with two laps to hold on from Shedden and Turkington, to take a victory for the first time since the second meeting of the season at Donington Park. He managed the gap and the top 3 would eventually finish fairly equidistant to one another.
Matt Neal deserves a mention for another impressive drive, starting P22 on the grid to finish P8, after the retirement in Race 2.
The Championship Standings Top 10 now look as follows:
1st. Colin Turkington – 265 Points
2nd. Ashley Sutton – 261 Points
3rd. Gordon Shedden – 253 Points
4th. Robert Collard – 248 Points
5th. Tom Ingram – 204 Points
6th. Matt Neal – 172 Points
7th. Andrew Jordan – 158 Points
8th. Mat Jackson – 142 Points
9th. Jack Goff – 130 Points
10th. Jason Plato – 111 Points
BTCC returns in two weeks time at Rockingham Motor Speedway for Rounds 22, 23 & 24. See you then!