Ingram wins Thruxton opener, Sutton takes championship lead

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Tom Ingram held off pole sitter Dan Cammish to take his first Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship victory of the season in the opening race of the day at Thruxton.

Meanwhile, fifth place for Ash Sutton in the Infiniti coupled with a misfire for defending champion Colin Turkington saw the championship lead change hands for the first time this season.

As the lights went out, Cammish bogged down slightly and Ingram took full advantage with a hooked up start, to swoop into the race lead. Cammish just slotted into second ahead of team-mate Matt Neal who made a good start from third.

Further back, Sutton found a way past all three BTC Racing Hondas to sit eighth after the first lap, up from eleventh on the grid. He then eased his way on to the back of his championship rival Turkington who appeared to be stuck behind Rory Butcher in the Motorbase Ford Focus.

At the front of the field, the drivers had settled into a consistent rhythm with Ingram leading the two Halfords Yuasa Hondas of Cammish and Neal, Adam Morgan and Jake Hill. However, at the end of lap four, Hill spun coming out of the chicance and dropped out of contention; he did briefly pit which suggested that it was a mechanical issue that caused it rather than a driver error.

On lap six, Sutton got a good exit out of the final chichane and dived down the inside of Turkington at Allard to take sixth. The ease with which Sutton took the position was somewhat surprising but all became clear further around the lap when Turkington was passed by numerous drivers as his BMW slowed with a misfire.

Sutton’s progression through the pack hadn’t finished with Turkington’s demise though and he passed Butcher for fifth coming out of the complex on lap eight.

As the race moved into the closing stages, Cammish edged up onto the back of Ingram but the Toyota driver controlled the gap fairly comfortably to the flag despite just a few tenths of a second separating the pair as they crossed the line.

Neal was a distant third, closely pursued by Morgan in the Mercedes. Remarkably it was Neal’s first podium of the season but it maintained his record of claiming a podium at Thruxton every year since 2002.

Sutton finished fifth to move one point ahead of Turkington at the summit of the championship.

Butcher was sixth ahead of Tom Chilton in seventh. Tom Oliphant finished eighth having started twelfth.

Josh Cook and Michael Crees rounded out the top ten in the BTC Racing Honda Civics.

The second race of the day takes place at 14:35 and will be broadcast live on ITV2.

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Freelance sports journalist with an immense passion for motorsport. I will be focusing on the BTCC this season and I look forward to bringing the latest news, analysis and features from the paddock.
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