Dan Cammish won the first round of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park as the series returned in action packed style. The Halfords Yuasa Racing driver beat defending champion Colin Turkington by seven tenths of a second, with Rory Butcher third in an excellent debut for the brand new Motorbase Ford Focus.
It was Turkington who assumed the lead into the first corner, Redgate, with a textbook start from pole position. There was action behind though as Ash Sutton made an excellent getaway from the second row and slipped down the inside of Cammish at Redgate to move into second. Tom Oliphant moved up to fourth in the second BMW but he was re-passed at the Craner Curves as Tom Ingram made a well timed lunge down the inside in the Toyota Corolla. At the Old Hairpin, Josh Cook was sent spinning off as he came to blows with the fellow Honda of Jake Hill.
At the front, Turkington was unable to pull a gap on the field and almost instantly had the Infiniti Q50 of Sutton crawling all over the back of him. On lap four, Sutton finally found a way through with a quality move around the outside of Schwantz curve. However there was slight contact between the two under braking for McLeans which forced them slightly wide of the apex. Cammish saw his opportunity, and seized it, by diving past both drivers and into the lead. Sutton tried to respond and the two touched on the way into the next corner, Coppice. This held everyone up behind and Ingram touched the back of Turkington sending him into the side of Sutton which saw the Infiniti driver spin across the grass and down to the back of the field. In the mayhem Butcher found a way past Ingram and assumed third position.
From there, the front of the field was fairly settled but there were wheel to wheel battles further down the field with Adam Morgan and Ollie Jackson clashing at the final chicane and both running off the circuit, losing several places in the process. Both TradePrice Audis were involved in a tight contest with drivers Bobby Thompson and rookie James Gornall swapping places and running side by side on several occasions. Thankfully for the team they kept it clean as well as entertaining.
On lap 11, just as Turkington started to close back up on Cammish the safety car was called as two unrelated incidents happened in quick succession. Senna Proctor in the Hyundai pulled off on the start/finish straight with suspected turbo failure after running strongly in the points in the car’s first race. Within seconds of that, Nicolas Hamilton outbraked himself at the final chicane and clattered the tyres, sending his car spinning into the gravel.
It took a few laps for Hamilton’s car to be moved and the track to be cleared but on lap 16 the race resumed with 19 laps the new race distance. Cammish made an excellent restart pulling a couple of lengths on Turkington with Butcher still in third. Ingram dived down the inside of Oliphant at Redgate to take fourth and with Oliphant out wide, the ever opportunistic Matt Neal swooped through into fifth place.
Cammish then controlled the pace to the flag to open his 2020 account with a victory from Turkington, Butcher, Ingram, Neal and Oliphant.
Sam Osbourne was a career best seventh for MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square with Chris Smiley eighth in the Hyundai i30’s first race. Stephen Jelley and Tom Chilton completed the top ten with strong drives from lowly grid positions.
Sutton recovered to 14th and set the fastest lap of the race in the process to illustrate the pace he possesses in the Infiniti.
The full race classification can be found here: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2020/203103rc1trg.pdf
Race two begins at 13:30 and will be shown live on ITV4.