Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish finally held off Tom Ingram to claim victory in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car race at Silverstone, as the championship fight closes up.
The top five in the championship all occupied the top-five positions around the Northamptonshire circuit with Rory Butcher, Colin Turkington and Ashley Sutton all involved in a titanic battle for the final podium spot.
On a frenetic opening lap, Cammish and Ingram swapped places twice with the pair practically going side-by-side around the majority of the 1.6-mile Silverstone National circuit. However, it was the Honda driver who kept his cool to lead at the end of the first lap.
With the safety car coming out on lap five to assist the stranded BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R of Michael Crees, Ingram nipped up the inside of Cammish as the pair navigated their way through Luffield with just nine-thousandths of a second separating them as they crossed the timing line.
It was Cammish who remained ahead though as the pack bunched up again.
The Halfords Yuasa Racing star maintained his lead at the restart and even stretched out a one-second advantage over Ingram who also held position.
With Butcher holding off Turkington for third, Tom Oliphant was providing his Team BMW teammate with vital protection from championship leader Sutton who was sixth. However, as Oliphant made his way through Copse, his rear right suspension failed forcing him to retire which allowed Sutton to close right up to the rear of Turkington.
Despite the best-efforts of Turkington, Burcher held on for third with Sutton close behind in fifth as the trio spent most of the second half of the race nose-to-tail.
It was Cammish who came through to claim the chequered flag though, despite Ingram’s best efforts.
“I was so conscious of the start” explained Cammish. “I wanted to make a good one. I think me and Tom were about the same but, because I covered him off, I was so busy watching his front bumper that I kind of forgot to brake for turn one so ended up miles off the road, but thankfully I kept it together and off we went!
“Tom gave a good chase though. He got a lot of traction in those opening laps – he was able to drive lines that I just couldn’t quite get to and he actually got the lead. Thankfully for me, it was sort of under the safety car so I was happy to hear over the radio that we could reverse the positions!
“I didn’t think the door was open, but he’s got so much front end. I’ve seen over the last couple of years how they set that car up and he can really use the front to rotate the car and maybe we’re a little bit lazier. But to be honest I also think he kind of ran out of front as the race went on and my car was consistent, and I managed to pull away in the end. It was a great drive by him. It was like a role reversal from last week – he made me work for it! But I’m really pleased to have got the victory.”
After not being able to quite get Ingram last week, Cammish was delighted with his and the car’s performance. Although, he admits that there is also still a bit of work to do ahead of races two and three, where his eager to score more vital championship points.
Ingram admitted he was chasing the win, but he also didn’t want to take too many risks as at the end of the day, points make prizes.
“At the start, I had a little bit of a better launch than Dan [Cammish] and we were elbows out on the first lap, but then we had the Safety Car and I managed to get the move done,” told Ingram.
“As I was coming down the back straight, ‘Spenny’ [Aldridge] came on the radio to say there was a Safety Car out that lap. So, I thought bingo – I know Dan will have got the same call, so I’ll launch an attack when Dan isn’t expecting it, and it worked perfectly. I thought I was ahead at the line but obviously the timekeepers had a look at it and said it was the other way around. But a great result nonetheless, a great result for Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters so I’m very pleased.”
After successfully fending off Turkington, Butcher admitted that he didn’t make it easy for himself after a poor start.
“I didn’t make it easy for myself at the start,” confirmed Butcher. “I launched pretty badly and had to take a few risks on that first lap to make sure I held position. And then it was quite easy to see Colin [Turkington] had a bit more minimum speed in the corners; he just came right up onto my rear bumper. A couple of times I thought that he was going to get past on the exit, so I just had to cover all bases. But as soon as Ash [Sutton] came onto his tail it made my life a little bit easier. I knew that Colin’s mind would be elsewhere.”
Despite a frustrating race, Turkington was pleased with the performance of his BMW 330i M-Sport but explained that the Ford just had too much on the straights for him to mount a serious challenge.
Sutton maintains the championship lead with fifth place and loses some ballast for race two of the afternoon.
Adam Morgan came home in sixth with Jake Hill seventh and Matt Neal eighth.
Ninth was Stephen Jelley with Josh Cook in tenth and Aiden Moffat in 11th.
Team HARD’s Carl Boardley just pipped Ollie Jackson on the line to secure 12th by 17 hundredths of a second.
Senna Proctor was 14th with Tom Chilton rounding out the points paying positions in 15th.
On her competitive debut, Jade Edwards finished in 23rd, dropping a few places in the closing stages after contact with Andy Neate.
Just 30-points now separate the top-five at the top of the standings.
Header image courtesy of BTCC/Jakob Ebrey
By Jordan Hollands.