Josh Cook took the first win of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton in an exciting opening race.
A first lap collision sent polesitter Ash Sutton spinning down the order. Tom Ingram’s first race for Excelr8 ended with second place and Jake Hill moved through the order to take third.
The first race is the only race all season which is ballast free, which means all drivers are on a level playing field and it’s purely a case of who’s fastest.
Sutton got away well, with Ingram and Colin Turkington in tow behind. Into the complex at Cobb, Turkington tapped Sutton in braking and spun Sutton around. This promoted Cook to the lead as he manoeuvred past the pair into a lead he never surrendered.
The Safety Car was brought out at the end of lap one as the returning Gordon Shedden tapped the back of Ollie Jackson. This sent the Honda driver into a spin before he collected Chris Smiley. The pair ended in the wall and Jackson pitted to fix an damage. Tom Oliphant appeared to be struggling to get heat into his tyres as he went off before pitting.
On lap seven the Safety Car pulled in and racing resumed. Ingram was on the back of Cook instantly, and was looking to overtake.
Sutton’s resurgence began on lap eight as he passed Sam Smelt and Oliphant. Meanwhile further up Dan Rowbottom, who replaced Matt Neal this season at Team Dynamics, moved around the outside of ex-team mate Adam Morgan at the final chicane in a very impressive move.
A transmission failure ended Stephen Jelley’s impressive return to Team WSR as he pulled into the pits.
In the closing stages there was a battle between Jason Plato, Rory Butcher, and Dan Cammish. Plato fought with Butcher for fifth, and both were passed by Cammish. He swooped into fifth and pulled away in his BTC Honda.
There was a light splatter of rain at the end of the race but nothing to bother the drivers as Cook cruised to the win, keeping up his impressive winning streak at Thruxton dating back to 2018. Ingram was second with Hill third. Turkington came home fourth, but was handed a penalty post race for his part in taking out Sutton, dropping him to tenth., Cammish, Butcher, Plato, Rowbottom, Morgan, and Ash Sutton rounded off the top ten on the road but were all promoted because of Turkington’s penalty.
|1||Josh Cook||BTC Racing||Honda Civic||29:33:844|
|2||Tom Ingram||Excelr8||Hyundai i30N||+2.298|
|3||Jake Hill||MB Motorsport||Ford Focus||+4.227|
|4||Dan Cammish||BTC Racing||Honda Civic||+9.323|
|5||Rory Butcher||Toyota Gazoo||Toyota Corolla||+11.758|
|6||Jason Plato||Power Maxed||Vauxhall Astra||+12.046|
|7||Dan Rowbottom||Halfords Racing||Honda Civic||+12.607|
|8||Adam Morgan||Ciceley||BMW 330i M||+19.612|
|9||Ash Sutton||Laser Tools||Infiniti Q50||+21.259|
|10||Colin Turkington||Team WSR||BMW 330i M||+21.825*|
|11||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools||Infiniti Q50||+22.760|
|12||Carl Boardley||Laser Tools||Infiniti Q50||+26.391|
|13||Jack Goff||Team HARD||Cupra Leon||+26.720|
|14||Tom Chilton||Ciceley||BMW 330i M||+27.138|
|15||Tom Oliphant||Team WSR||BMW 330i M||+27.448|
|16||Dan Lloyd||Power Maxed||Vauxhall Astra||+27.791|
|17||Sam Osborne||Motorbase||Ford Focus||+29.846|
|18||Aron Taylor-Smith||Team HARD||Cupra Leon||+31.038|
|19||Ollie Jackson||MB Motorsport||Ford Focus||+33.636|
|20||Jade Edwards||BTC Racing||Honda Civic||+38.774|
|21||Jack Butel||Excelr8||Hyundai i30N||+41.015|
|22||Glyn Geddie||Team HARD||Cupra Leon||+41.932|
|23||Sam Smelt||Toyota Gazoo||Toyota Corolla||+42.886|
|24||Andy Neate||Motorbase||Ford Focus||+45.545|
|25||Rick Parfitt||Excelr8||Hyundai i30N||+45.928|
|26||Nicolas Hamilton||Team HARD||Cupra Leon||+2 Laps|
|DNF||Stephen Jelley||Team WSR||BMW 330i M||Transmission|
|DNF||Gordon Shedden||Halfords Racing||Honda Civic||Crash|
|DNF||Chris Smiley||Excelr8||Hyundai i30N||Crash|
- – Colin Turkington handed 17 second penalty for collision with Ash Sutton on lap 1.