The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship saw another three frenetic races at Donington Park serve up three different race winners this past weekend (April 28/29) - with the series’ young guns coming further to the fore.
Coming off the back of a memorable curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, the capacity 32-car grid descended on the Leicestershire venue with it all to play at the top of the standings.
Qualifying proved to be a dramatic affair with times tumbling right until the end of the session. As the clock ticked to zero, Power Maxed Racing’s Josh Cook displaced Chris Smiley to score his first BTCC pole position.
Cook’s Saturday dominance translated to race day as he converted pole position into a commanding first victory - becoming the 19th different driver to have scaled to the top step of the podium.
Launching his Vauxhall Astra off the front row, Cook held off the advances of Smiley on the opening tour before stretching his advantage over Dan Cammish and Aiden Moffat, who moved themselves into the remaining rostrum places.
Race two went the way of championship leader Tom Ingram, who became the first driver to win two races this year. Having scored a handful of points with maximum weight and the hard tyre in race one, the Speedworks Motorsport racer scythed his way through the field from P13 in the second encounter.
Picking his way through the top ten, Ingram shuffled BTC Norlin Racing’s Smiley to second on lap ten and was never challenged thereon after. WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Jack Goff rounded off the podium after also charging through the pack.
Goff had been hot on the heels of Ingram at one stage but a valiant defence from Cammish, who had led early on, saw the Honda Civic Type R driver lose ground to the leaders.
One of the star performers in race two however was the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes Benz A-Class of Adam Morgan, who crossed the line fifth having started 25th.
With the top nine reversed for race three, Rory Butcher lined up on pole position with reigning champion Ashley Sutton lining up alongside him. As the lights went out, five cars fell victim to the close-quarter racing down the Crater Curves, with James Cole, Josh Price and Sam Tordoff all out on the spot.
At the front, Sutton propelled himself into the lead but soon fell into the clutches of the chasing pack, with Morgan leading the way. Making his move on lap eight, Morgan held his nerve, withstanding a late charge from Cook to score his first win since Thruxton 2016.
Laser Tools Racing’s Moffat made it two Mercedes on the podium as he scored his second third place finish of the day. Standout performances from Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan saw them round out the top five, piloting their West Surrey Racing BMW’s through the field.
Following on from another exciting day’s racing, Ingram extended his advantage in the drivers standings with Morgan and Cook filling the top three spots.
For the full classification of results, click here.
The 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship returns on May 19/20 with rounds seven, eight and nine taking place at Thruxton.