BTCC

Cook awarded race two victory after last lap contact with Neal

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Cook was awarded his second win of the day by the stewards after the race. Photo Credit: BTCC.net media

Josh Cook was given his second win of the day by the stewards following a clash with Matt Neal on the final lap. It was a fitting end to a chaotic but thrilling second Kwik Fit British Touring Car race of the day at Croft.

Neal won the race on the road from Cook in second. However, his last lap lunge on Cook at Sunny In, that resulted in the pair making contact, was adjudged to have been an unfair manoeuvre and the positions were reversed after the race.

Meanwhile, the two main title protagonists, Ash Sutton and Colin Turkington failed to score after separate incidents, meaning they will both start the final race from the rear of the grid.

As the lights went out, Cook made a good start to lead the pack but further back there was a slight touch between Sutton and Turkington. This contact coupled with cold tyres meant that Turkington outbraked himself into the first corner, Clervaux, and he ran through the gravel into the tyre barrier meaning his race was over before it had barely begun.

Further around the lap Rory Butcher was sent spearing off the road at the exit of the Jim Clark Esses after contact which dumped him to the back of the field. He would recover to set the fastest lap of the race.

The safety car was deployed so that Turkington’s car could be removed from the gravel which bunched the pack. 

At the restart, the front three of Cook, Jake Hill and Sutton made a break from the rest whilst fourth placed Neal came under considerable pressure from Tom Chilton.

On lap six, Sutton was all over Hill for second and made a rash, late dive down the inside at the Hairpin. The two cars inevitably touched and the contact punctured Sutton’s tyre ending his chances of points and therefore his hopes of capitalising on Turkington’s misfortune to greatly extend his championship lead.

Hill’s car was clearly wounded and he was quickly reeled in by Neal, who by this point had seen off the attention of Chilton and was flying. He dived past Hill at Sunny In on lap ten and set about closing down Cook’s three second lead.

Neal caught Cook with two laps to go and on the final tour he sent his car down the inside of Cook at Sunny In. The two made contact and Cook slid wide allowing Neal to swoop through. It didn’t take the stewards long to decide to reverse the positions post-race.

Hill limped home in third for his second podium of the day.

Tom Ingram was a hugely impressive fourth from 13th on the grid in the Toyota Corolla with the second Halfords Yuasa Honda Civic of Dan Cammish in fifth. Cammish’s points haul coupled with Turkington and Sutton’s misfortune means he is now just 13 points off the championship lead and certainly back in title contention.

Chilton was sixth and will start the final race from pole position courtesy of the reverse grid draw.

Tom Oliphant was seventh ahead of Bobby Thompson, Senna Proctor and Stephen Jelley who rounded out the top ten.

The final race of the day will begin at 17:05 and will be broadcast live on ITV4.

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