Ash Sutton won the second BTCC encounter at Rockingham while Tom Ingram returned to the standings summit with yet another sensational comeback drive.
Pole-sitter Adam Morgan lost the lead to Sutton off the line but he was able to defend second from Chris Smiley’s BTC Norlin Racing Honda and Mike Bushell’s Team-HARD run VW.
Morgan kept Sutton honest throughout but was never really close enough to make a concerted effort to get by, with both drivers seemingly content with the top two positions.
Yet again it was the final podium position that created the most excitement with Ingram incredibly grabbing the place late on after a storming drive from 27th on the grid.
He had already picked off rival-after-rival before he blasted by then championship leader Colin Turkington to take fifth on lap 15. Both of those then muscled their way past the impressive Bushell, so it was Ingram and Turkington in fourth and fifth with just a couple of laps remaining.
Senna Proctor’s Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Vauxhall was hanging on to third but when he ran across the grass through Brook for the second time, Ingram spied his opportunity and nipped through.
Smiley took sixth ahead of Bushell, whilst Rory Butcher (AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing), Matt Simpson (Simpson Racing) and Tom Chilton (Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher) again claimed top ten positions. Chilton was further rewarded with a reverse grid pole for today’s final race due to get underway at 1645.
When the dust settled on yet another breathless contest it is Speedworks Motorsport’s Ingram leading the standings by three points from Team BMW’s Turkington, whilst reigning champion Sutton sits closely behind in third.
Ash Sutton said: “It was like re-living Race 2 at Snetterton. We made the right call on tyres at the last minute. We’d gone on wets and we started on stone cold dries – everyone else had a couple of sighter laps to warm up. It’s very much like last year how things are playing out so far this season – better late than never! We’re getting there with the car in race trim and we’ve got something. The Adrian Flux Subaru Racing guys have done a great job. We were third after Race 2 at Snetterton but finished up seventh, it’s an indicator of how quick things can change so we’re not counting any chickens.”
Adam Morgan said: “When you’re carrying 75 kilograms I thought it’d be a bit more difficult than that. Ash (Sutton) got the start he wanted and was leading the way into the unknown. He disappeared once his tyres were up to temperature. We know our car’s quick with weight. We’ll see what we get with the reverse grid draw as to where we can go in Race 3.”
Tom Ingram said: “There’s a lesson in this: don’t let yourself get beaten up, don’t let your head go down and look at the positives in any situation. For all the negatives you get, every so often you get a real positive and you can have some fun coming through from the back like that. I got to 12th pretty early on and my engineer said ‘you’ve got the rest of the race to do the rest of it’. For the second weekend running, we’ve had to do the same thing but credit to the lads. We were up against it after Race 1 and we only just got the car back out ahead of Race 2. Thanks to everyone at home for the messages of encouragement again. It really helps.”
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 20 – Rockingham
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 19 laps
2 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +4.426s
3 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +5.315s
4 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +7.327s
5 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +8.170s
6 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +11.779s
7 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +12.469s
8 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +12.722s
9 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +15.417s
10 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +16.541s
11 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +17.481s
12 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +19.791s
13 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +19.924s
14 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +21.876s
15 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +24.316s
16 Dan LLOYD (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +24.741s
17 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +28.402s
18 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +28.724s
19 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +30.956s
20 Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +31.254s
21 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +32.099s
22 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +33.034s
23 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +33.800s
24 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +34.877s
25 Ollie PIDGLEY (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +39.823s
26 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1 lap
27 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +3 laps
28 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +7 laps
29 Michael CAINE (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +8 laps
30 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +18 laps
31 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +18 laps