BTC Racing’s Josh Cook has claimed the win in the season opener at Thruxton in a race full of drama to begin the 2021 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Cook finished ahead of Tom Ingram who achieved the highest result for the EXCELR8 TradePriceCars team in his first full outing in the Hyundai i30N Fastback and Jake Hill as he piloted the Ford Focus ST for MB Motorsport.
Colin Turkington finished just outside the podium spots in fourth ahead of Dan Cammish, Rory Butcher, successful returns for Jason Plato and Dan Rowbottom followed by Adam Morgan and Ash Sutton.
But it was Sutton himself that was the big story of the opening race as despite getting an excellent start, Cook headed into the lead with the defending champion leading into Complex on Lap One only for a spin after being clipped by Turkington sending him to the back.
While for Gordon Shedden, his return to the championship wasn’t a happy one as he also hit strife and went into the tyre barrier along with Chris Smiley. This coming after the Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda was speared across the track after being unable to avoid Ollie Jackson‘s Ford Focus taking the Hyundai i30N with him.
Tom Oliphant also went down the order going off the track and so joined Sutton at the back following the safety car. This lasted until Lap Six extending the distance to 19 laps with Cook and Ingram surging towards the line looking for any advantage.
While another battle ensued as Adam Morgan, Carl Boardley, Dan Rowbottom, Tom Chilton and Jack Goff further down were all together up until the final point in 15th.
But it was Rowbottom who emerged best out of that battle as he surged past Morgan and Boardley into 9th place and hunting down Stephen Jelley who had the best of the race start going up 10 places from his initial race position.
The top five on Lap 10 saw Cook still lead with the fastest lap ahead of Ingram, Hill, Turkington, Butcher and Plato but the gap was widening with Cook over a second ahead of Ingram. While, Hill and Turkington were the two that were battling in this case for the final podium spot.
Further down, Cammish made good use of Plato and Butcher squabbling for 5th place to take two places in one move. While Jelley fell down the order and retired after mechanical issues allowing Rowbottom into that battle between Plato and Butcher towards the back end of the race.
For Sutton, as expected, he came from the back and into 11th place as he gained ground ahead of Race Two showing his pace and finished inside the top 10 in the end with Aidan Moffat and Carl Boardley just behind him in 11th and 12th.
While up ahead, Cook took the chequered flag with the order remaining unchanged ahead of Ingram and Hill for the podium spots ahead of Race Two where ballast will come into play.
Following the race, Turkington was issued with a 17-second time penalty for Race Two for the incident involving Sutton so will now start behind the Infiniti Q50 in tenth.
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Thruxton
1 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing 19 laps
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +2.298s
3 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +4.227s
4 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) BTC Racing +9.323s
5 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +11.758s
6 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +12.046s
7 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +12.607s
8 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +19.612s
9 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +21.259s
10 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +21.825s
11 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +22.760s
12 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +26.391s
13 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +26.720s
14 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +21.138s
15 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +27.448s
16 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +27.791s
17 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +29.846s
18 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +31.038s
19 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +33.636s
20 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +38.774s
21 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +41.015s
22 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +41.932s
23 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +42.886s
24 Andy NEATE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +45.545s
25 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +45.928s
26 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +2 laps
27 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +5 laps
28 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +19 laps
29 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +19 laps