Team BMW’s Colin Turkington repelled an early attack from Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com’s Tom Ingram to take his first victory of the BTCC season in the opening race at Snetterton.
The Norfolk venue – basked in glorious sunshine throughout the weekend – sees the return of the Goodyear ‘Option’ tyre, and the vast majority of the front-runners chose to utilise softer rubber for the first contest.
Ingram made a stellar effort on the opening tour as he hauled his Hyundai i30N alongside Turkington’s BMW 3 Series on no fewer than two occasions, but the four-time champion held firm whilst getting temperature into the tyres of his rear-wheel drive machine.
The lead duo traded fastest laps later in the bout, but in truth Turkington was able to keep Ingram at arm’s length until the chequered flag – scoring an important win in the process and the 155th podium of his BTCC career.
Rory Butcher claimed a lonely third place, but it was a promising first 2021 podium for the Scotsman after his off-season switch to Toyota Gazoo Racing UK.
Stephen Jelley fought hard to take fourth place, with his final pass by the MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Ford of Ollie Jackson being particularly impressive.
Jackson held onto to fifth from a charging Adam Morgan as the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport experienced a topsy turvy encounter. Morgan’s BMW climbed to fifth in the early running, before dropping to seventh, but the Lancastrian fought back well to take a first top six finish in his new stealth Bavarian car.
Daniel Lloyd maintained seventh for Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing, ahead of Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant – the latter helping to cement four BMWs in the top eight.
Championship leader Jake Hill was ninth in his ballast-laden MB Motorsport-run Ford Focus, whilst Chris Smiley rounded out the top ten in the second EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai.
Race 2 will take place at 1430, before the reverse-grid contest commences at 1720 – all the action is now live on ITV4.
Colin Turkington said: “It was so nice on the cool down lap when you’ve had a race win and you see the banks on the back straight of the last half of the lap filled with spectators, and I just know they all had a mega night last night in the campsite. It adds so much to the atmosphere and just the feeling of winning feels an extra special achievement in front of the fans. Let’s hope this is the first step and we’ll see more and more.
“That’s the first time we’ve been on the soft tyre this year but I think we managed it well, and once again the 3 series BMW is a fantastic weapon around Snetterton, I think with three cars in the top ten it’s a good hunting ground for us.”
Tom Ingram said: “I knew that the first lap was going to be when I could pounce. I enjoy it when it’s like that, I say every time, but that first lap when the car feels alive and on the edge. I was just able to nip and tuck, and left right left, it’s brilliant fun. I nearly got him, I managed to get him on a couple of switcheroos but not quite. Colin [Turkington] has done it for a while, he kind of knows what to do which is frustrating, I wish he didn’t know what to do, then I would have a chance of getting past, but never mind.
“I felt like I could have kept that pace going but with the temperature, the soft tyre, first race of the day, second place, was it worth the risk? Probably not, so I’m happy with that.”
Rory Butcher said: “It was a really interesting race because on the warm up lap a gear cut so it wouldn’t upshift unless I lifted off the gas. It just meant I had to go back to the old Formula Ford days and drive without any kind of assistance on the gear shaft which made things a little bit harder. I had to coordinate my lifting off the gas while changing gear, it was a bit more tiring and we lost a little bit in a straight line but I was really pleased with how the car performed despite that.
“This is my first podium for this team, and first podium this year. I had a really tough first race so to come here and be on the front, I’m so pleased!”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Snetterton
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW 12 laps
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +2.932s
3 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +9.451s
4 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +13.960s
5 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +16.921s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +17.572s
7 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +18.049s
8 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +18.373s
9 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +21.951s
10 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +22.583s
11 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +22.852s
12 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +23.759s
13 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +24.993s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +25.415s
15 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +26.015s
16 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +27.736s
17 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +28.663s
18 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) BTC Racing +29.382s
19 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +29.942s
20 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +32.857s
21 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +34.464s
22 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +35.358s
23 Jessica HAWKINS (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +38.361s
24 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +40.530s
25 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +41.030s
26 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +41.774s
27 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +42.730s
28 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +43.230s
29 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +58.734s