BTCC Snetterton, Turkington, Sutton & Ingram shine in Snetterton sizzler.

Credit: BTCC.

The 2nd round of the 2021 BTCC championship see’s the series move to the challenging flatlands of Snetterton; more significantly, it is the first time fans have been able to attend a BTCC race event since the Brands Hatch season finale in October 2019. 4000 fans were permitted entry to the event, in line with the most recent easing of Covid19 restrictions in the UK. The championship would also welcome a new driver to the series for the Snetterton race weekend, Jessica Hawkins replacing Andy Neate in the Motorbase Ford Focus ST for the Snetterton race meeting.

Saturday saw the return of the top 10 qualifying shootout, the hot and dry conditions, punctuated by the UK basking in high temperatures thanks to a summer heatwave handed the advantage to the rear wheel drive cars. Colin Turkington in his BMW 330 clinched pole position for race 1.

Colin Turkington made good his escape in race 1, putting the traction advantage of his rear wheel drive BMW to good use, pulling clear of the Hyundai i30N of Tom Ingram off the line into turn 1. Ingram was able to pull back onto the bumper of Turkington’s BMW part way round the first lap, Ingram had shown great pace in practice & qualifying in the Hyundai and was putting said pace to good use in the race. 

Turkington & Ingram were able to pull clear from the rest of the chasing pack, Rory Butcher’s Toyota Corolla had pace but simply wasn’t able to live with the blistering pace set by Turkington & Ingram; Butcher was very much on his own for the duration of the race, faster than those behind him but slower than the leading two. Turkington & Ingram’s battle intensified, with Ingram putting the Ginster’s liveried Hyundai alongside the Turkington’s BMW on several occasions, but Turkington resisted, denying Ingram the lead of the race every time. 

Further back down the order, Stephen Jelley & Ollie Jackson battled tooth and nail for 4th with the chasing pack scrapping away behind and waiting to pounce if either party made a mistake. Ash Sutton meanwhile valiantly fought his way back up the order; engine problems during qualifying on Saturday sidelined the 2020 champion, relegating him to the back of the grid for race 1, it was a typically stunning display of driving from Sutton who would finish in 11th, making up 18 placed in the process.

Back at the head of the field, Colin Turkington would make it a lights to flag victory, fending off the hard charging Tom Ingram who placed 2nd. Rory Butcher came home in no man’s land in 3rd, adrift from Ingram but with a clear advantage over eventual 4th place finisher Stephen Jelley with Ollie Jackson putting in a strong performance to finish 5th.

Colin Turkington, credit: BTCC.

After his race 1 succes, Colin Turkington would start from pole position for race 2, but this time his BMW bloated and heavy with ballast. Turkington made another strong start, although Tom Ingram once again made a perfect start in the front wheel drive Hyundai, but it simply wasn’t enough to counter the traction advantage enjoyed by the BMW off the line. 

Turkington immediately came under pressure from Ingram, just as the BMW driver had in race 1, but defending with so much ballast was that bit harder now the chasing Ingram had a lighter car. Further down the order, battles were breaking out left, right & centre as the lead cars were unable to breakaway thanks to the success ballast, packing the field up. 

Ash Sutton, starting from 11th and opting for the soft option tyre set a blistering pace in his Infiniti Q50, the 2020 champion carving his way through the field with a car that visibly had the legs on the opposition. Sutton, astonishingly, had battled his way into the lead of the race, setting sail and quickly gapping Colin Turkington in 2nd who had no reply to Sutton’s pace. The battle for 3rd meanwhile was red hot as Tom Ingram & Ollie Jackson fought tooth and nail with each other. At the head of the field, Ash Sutton took a well deserved race victory with Colin Turkington in 2nd who managed to close right back up onto Sutton’s tail at the death. Ollie Jackson held off a charging Tom Ingram to take 3rd with Ingram in 4th & Rory Butcher bringing in another strong result in 5th.

Ash Sutton, credit: BTCC.

The traditional reverse grid draw for race 3 saw Ash Sutton draw Stephen Jelley, who would start race 3 from pole position.

Stephen Jelley, following the reverse grid draw at the close of race 2 started from pole position in his BMW 330 with teammate Tom Oliphant starting alongside in 2nd. Jelley made a good getaway from pole position and led the field into turn 1 with Oliphant in tow in second & a strong starting Tom Ingram jumping up into 3rd. Carl Boardley came to grief on the opening lap, spinning onto the Snetterton infield, Boardley’s spin triggered by a concertina effect caused by Josh Cook & Gordon Shedden making contact further up the road.

Tom Oliphant meanwhile spun on lap 2 as Ollie Jackson clattered into the BMW, spinning the 2nd placed BMW. Jelley meanwhile found himself coming under intense pressure from a charging Tom Ingram with Ash Sutton, Rory Butcher & Colin Turkington queuing up behind, Jelley very much the cork in the bottle for the chasing pack. Gordon Shedden meanwhile was the man on the move, making his way up to 4th by lap 4. Stephen Jelley’s valiant defence came to an end on lap 5 as Tom Ingram was able to pass Jelley for the lead at Wilson’s.

Ash Sutton in 3rd, heavy with ballast suddenly found himself coming under immense pressure from Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R; the Honda carrying little ballast clearly the quicker car with Josh Cook towing up behind Shedden as well. Ingram meanwhile had set sail in the lead, pulling a 1 second advantage over Jelley, who desperately clung onto 2nd from Ash Sutton, Gordon Shedden & Josh Cook. Ash Sutton on lap 8 finally broke through Jelley’s defences into 2nd, by the following corner Gordon Shedden had dropped Jelley down another position; just two corners later Josh Cook dropped Jelley down to 5th. Gordon Shedden, finally released from the slow BMW of Jelley immediately began to reel in Ash Sutton. 

Tom Ingram took a commanding race win, it also marked the first BTCC victory for Hyundai as a manufacturer. Ash Sutton fended off a charging Gordon Shedden to finish 2nd with Shedden in 3rd, Josh Cook finished in 4th while race 3 pole sitter Stephen Jelley rounded out the top 5. Jade Edwards had a breakout race 3, taking her first BTCC race point with a career best BTCC finish so far of 15th. 

Tom Ingram, credit: BTCC.

Round 3 of the championship will take place in just 2 weeks time on June 26th & 27th at the quickfire Brands Hatch Indy circuit; until next time, stay safe.

Race 1 standings:

  1. Colin Turkington
  2. Tom Ingram
  3. Rory Butcher
  4. Stephen Jelley
  5. Ollie Jackson
  6. Adam Morgan
  7. Daniel Lloyd
  8. Tom Oliphant
  9. Jake Hill
  10. Chris Smiley

Race 2 standings:

  1. Ash Sutton
  2. Colin Turkington
  3. Ollie Jackson
  4. Tom Ingram
  5. Rory Butcher
  6. Tom Oliphant
  7. Stephen Jelley
  8. Adam Morgan
  9. Jack Goff
  10. Aiden Moffat

Race 3 standings:

  1. Tom Ingram
  2. Ash Sutton
  3. Gordon Shedden
  4. Josh Cook
  5. Stephen Jelley
  6. Rory Butcher
  7. Colin Turkington
  8. Adam Morgan
  9. Jack Goff
  10. Daniel Rowbottom

Drivers championship standings:

  1. Ash Sutton – 80 points
  2. Tom Ingram – 78 points
  3. Colin Turkington – 75 points
  4. Josh Cook – 60 points
  5. Jake Hill – 57 points
  6. Rory Butcher – 47 points
  7. Stephen Jelley – 46 points
  8. Jason Plato – 38 points
  9. Ollie Jackson – 36 points
  10. Gordon Shedden – 35 points
Credit: BTCC.

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