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Ingram takes first BTCC win at Brands Hatch season-opener

Sunday, April 03 2016

Tom Ingram converted pole position into his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race victory at Brands Hatch today (Sunday), after an eventful opening round of the 2016 season.

Ingram made a great start, with the two Honda champions following behind in grid order, but there was a fight for fourth place at Druids, which was eventually won by Ashley Sutton. Behind, chaos ensued as Sam Tordoff spun early on after contact with Rob Collard, whilst Colin Turkington was also in the wars. Mat Jackson ran wide at Paddock Hill, and fought aggressively with team-mate Andrew Jordan along the pit straight in his attempt to return to the top ten. Then Alex Martin's race ended with an impact in the barrier on the back straight after Hunter Abbott spun his Chevrolet into his path.

While all of this was happening, Shedden caught Ingram as the they tried to negotiate a lapped Mark Howard, and as soon as Ingram defended on the approach to Paddock Hill at the end of lap four, the safety car appeared as the track was cleared of debris and striken cars.

Ingram and Shedden made a quick restart, and quickly resumed hostilities. Neal had his hands full holding back Sutton, whilst behind, Goff worked on getting his BMW's tyres up to temperature. He was holding up Adam Morgan, who fought with Josh Cook and Aron Smith, eventually losing several places in the process.

The race finally settled into a rhythm, with Ingram maintaining his lead from the reigning champion, whilst Neal maintained a respectful distance, just ahead of Goff and Sutton. The BMW began to attack for fourth place as the top three began to pull away, and with Cook catching him, he tried too hard at Paddock Hill, losing out to the second MG.

Goff now headed a queue of cars including Aron Smith, Collard, Jackson, Morgan and Jeff Smith. Collard made the most of this to pass his team-mate, then Aron forced his way through at Clearways, letting Jackson and Morgan through in the process. Soon after, Jeff Smith ran wide, dropping out of contention.

As the race wore on, the Speedworks garage became an increasingly tense environment, and with a decent enough gap to Shedden, Ingram counted down the laps. He completed his run to the chequered flag with an eventual margin of victory of 2.284 seconds over Shedden, who was joined by team-mate Neal on the podium.

After the race, an emotional Ingram said: "The hard work that gone on over the winter has been incredible and it just goes to show how much it all means to us."

The MGs finished fourth and fifth, ahead of WSR's Rob Collard, and Aron Smith in the ex-BMR VW CC. Ex-BMR team-mate Jason Plato was the top Subaru runner in 21st place.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race One
1, Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, 27 Laps
2, Gordon Shedden, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +2.284s
3, Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +3.925s
4, Ashley Sutton, MG Racing RCIB Insurance, MG6 GT, +6.070s
5, Josh Cook, MG Racing RCIB Insurance, MG6 GT, +6.423s
6, Rob Collard, Team JCT600 with GuardX, BMW 125i M-Sport, +7.908s
7, Aron Smith, BKR, VW CC, +10.314s
8, Mat Jackson, Motorbase, Ford Focus, +11.720s
9, Adam Morgan, WIX Racing, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, +13.495s
10, Jack Goff, Team IHG Rewards Club, BMW 125i M-Sport, +13.615s

Click here for a full classification. The second round of the 2016 BTCC season will take place at 2:12pm.

Raceday tickets for the opening rounds of the BTCC at Brands Hatch on 3 April are available on the gate for £33 on Sunday, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.