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Tom Ingram wins BTCC season-opening race at Brands Hatch

Sunday, April 02 2017

Tom Ingram won his second opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race victory in succession at Brands Hatch today (Sunday), in an encounter filled with action and drama from the very start.

There was instant drama as the startline lights went out. Ingram surged into an early lead, but behind, a fast-starting Colin Turkington tried to thread between Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, getting caught up with the latter as the Honda closed off the gap between him and Shedden, with the result that both retired on the spot. The Northern Irishman managed to move his car out of the way, avoiding disaster, but the safety car was forced into early action.

The restart was perfect for Ingram, and Shedden tried to restore Honda's honour by attacking Smith's Independent Civic. This helped the leader get away, but Gordon braved it out at Graham Hill on lap six, with Adam Morgan following him through.

There was plenty of action behind, too, as Mat Jackson attacked Jake Hill, and Andrew Jordan ran wide at Paddock Hill, letting former team-mate Jack Goff through into sixth place behind Rob Austin.

Morgan was hanging onto the top two, who began to post fastest lap times in their duel for the lead. This left Smith fighting a rearguard action in fourth place to hold off Austin and the rest of the pack, which Rob Collard and Tom Chilton had now latched on to.

Austin made it through into Druids on lap 15, and Goff also snuck through as Smith found himself out of place. It appeared, however that something was up as the Civic pulled into the pitlane at the end of the lap. Austin and Goff then battled over fourth place, dropping Jordan in the process. Goff was through at the end of lap 19 and in the struggle, Jordan caught Austin.

On the move in the late stages was Collard, attacking Mike Epps, then Jackson as he surged up the top ten order. At the front, Shedden's attack on Ingram began to falter, and Morgan's Mercedes became an increasing threat in the Scotsman's mirrors. By the last lap Morgan was all over the reigning champion, but he held on for second.

Behind Goff, Austin managed to keep Jordan in his mirrors, who finished one place ahead of team-mate Collard.

Race two will take place at 2.17pm.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race One
1, Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, +27 Laps
2, Gordon Shedden, Halford Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +0.3.181s
3, Adam Morgan, Ciceley Motorsport, Mercedes Benz A-Class, +3.348s
4, Jack Goff, Eurotech Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +12.387s
5, Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, +16.410s
6, Andrew Jordan, BMW Pirtek Racing, BMW 125i M-Sport, +16.610s
7, Robert Collard, Team BMW, BMW 125i M-Sport, +16.760s
8, Mat Jackson, Team Shredded Wheat with Duo, Ford Focus,  +18.109s
9, Michael Epps, Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing, Volkswagen CC, +18.326s
10, Tom Chilton, Power Maxed Racing, Vauxhall Astra, +18.632s

Raceday tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 1/2 April are available on the gate for £34, with free entry for under-13s. For more information or to book, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.