Josh Cook leads through the fog as the BTCC is Back!

An incredible first race weekend as the British Touring Car Championship returns for 2019 with three action packed races at Brands Hatch. Some unlikely drivers at the top of the pile and some surprises for everyone up and down the field, once the fog had cleared that is.

Starting with race one and another classic quite similar to last year with changing conditions and drivers unsure on whether to run slick tyres or wets with the bulk of the grid choosing wet tyres which proved to be a mistake. The drama started on lap one with Jason Plato starting in second place slipping back to sixth place due to the rear wheel drive army behind, he then picked up a drive through penalty due to being ahead of his grid box which dropped him far down the order. Sutton lead for most of the race until like last year the slick tyre cars started to close in. It was a repeat of success for Jake Hill who benefited from the tyre choice to take another second-place finish at brands and giving Trade Price Cars a podium on their debut weekend. Josh Cook stormed through the grid with some great overtakes to take the win for BTC Racing in their new Honda Civic FK8 on its first race weekend. Chris Smiley in the second BTC Honda was involved in a head on crash after turn 3 caused by bunching, Sam Tordoff was the only other retirement. Tom Chilton rounded out the podium in 3rd place. Here are the top 10 from race 1:

1. Josh Cook
2. Jake Hill
3. Tom Chilton
4. Aiden Moffat
5. Adam Morgan
6. Bobby Thompson
7. Stephen Jelly
8. Matt Neal
9. Ashley Sutton
10. Rory Butcher

On to race 2 now and much clearer weather than the mornings race, the new WSR built BMW showed its pace with 2013 champ Andrew Jordan starting from 15th battled his way to the win. Cook tried to hold on but eventually dropped back to 7th place, some big names not to score where Plato and Tordoff who couldn’t climb up the order after starting from the back of the grid. I pretty mixed up grid lead to a lot of overtakes and with it being the first race to include ballast for the cars that played a factor as well. Sutton climbed up to take second place with Adam Morgan moving up the order to grab third place in his Mercedes. Ingram got a fine 5th place finish in the new Toyota Corolla finishing just behind Jake Hill who carried his pace over to take a solid 4th place finish. The top 10 look like this:

1. Andrew Jordan
2. Ashley Sutton
3. Adam Morgan
4. Jake Hill
5. Tom Ingram
6. Stephen Jelly
7. Josh Cook
8. Rory Butcher
9. Tom Chilton
10. Senna Proctor

The reversed grid race 3 saw Matt Neal pulled out of the hat to take pole position for the final race of the day along side Senna Proctor. Proctor however would spin out on turn 3 and fall back in the pack, Rob Collard in the second Vauxhall Astra was hit from behind from one of the Team HARD cars which saw him retire from the race, Hill and Sutton also where involved in a crash which saw Sutton get spun out and into the tyre barrier. The final dram came on the final lap as Matt Neal’s car suffered a suspension failure which caused him to drop back and allow Jelly’s BMW to take the final podium position. Tom Chilton stormed into the lead and was never caught, a nice cruising victory for him, Rory Butcher slipped up the grid with a double overtake on Neal and Jelly to take a career best second place. The top 10 was as follows:

1. Tom Chilton
2. Rory Butcher
3. Stephen Jelly
4. Josh Cook
5. Colin Turkington
6. Tom Oliphant
7. Chris Smiley
8. Matt Neal
9. Aidan Moffat
10. Tom Ingram

Three fantastic races have led to this being the top 10 championship standings:
1. Josh Cook 44
2. Tom Chilton 43
3. Stephen Jelly 35
4. Rory Butcher 31
5. Adam Morgan 31
6. Jake Hill 30
7. Ashley Sutton 27
8. Andrew Jordan 23
9. Matt Neal 22
10. Tom Ingram 20
Manufactures Standings:
1. Honda 80
2. BMW 80
3. Subaru 75
4. Toyota 45
5. Vauxhall 43
Independents Top 5:
1. Josh Cook 46
2. Tom Chilton 45
3. Adam Morgan 40
4. Stephen Jelly 39
5. Rory Butcher 36
Great three opening races with three different winners, a new podium finisher and a new car model winning a race. Join us for more tin-top action at Donnington park on the 27th and 28th of April.
Image by PSP Images.