In a red-flagged interrupted race after a massive accident for Rory Butcher, it was his Motorbase Performance teammate Ollie Jackson who came through the carnage to claim his first win in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
Starting from second, Jackson got the better initial getaway compared to and went up the inside of pole-sitter Tom Oliphant into Copse.
Further back, chaos ensued as Tom Ingram went around the outside of both Carl Boardley and Tom Onslow-Cole through Brooklands but as that outside turned into the inside for Luffield, Ingram was spun after contact with Onslow-Cole in a typical three into one doesn’t go racing incident.
Andy Neate nudged Jade Edwards out wide going through Luffield before running her out of room on the exit, leaving her nowhere to go but off the track. The pair then made contact which sent Neate into the wall, ending his race early.
On lap six, Matt Neal and Butcher went side-by-side through Copse, but contact between the pair sent Butcher’s Motorbase Ford Focus careering into the armco barrier on the inside of Maggotts, with the car then barrel-rolling on impact before coming to a stop on the apex of Becketts. Thankfully though, the whole field managed to avoid him.
With not only Butcher’s car damaged and sitting on the track, but the barrier and marshal post as well, a red-flagged was issued.
The race was resumed with the race order at the time of the red-flag being the starting order for the restart, meaning Jackson would start on pole with Oliphant alongside in a shortened 12-lap contest.
Jackson replicated his start and maintained his race lead when the race got back underway.
Oliphant tried to go around the outside of Jackson at Brooklands but contact between the pair helped Jackson maintain the lead.
Meanwhile, Ashley Sutton was slicing his way through the pack and was now up to seventh from 26th on the grid on the original start. Seventh soon became sixth for the Laser Tools Racing driver as he moved up the inside of Tom Chilton at Copse.
Back at the front though and Oliphant was looking more threatening. He got a good run out of Luffield and grabbed the race lead through Woodcote but then ran out wide through Copse, allowing Jackson to hold the inside line as the pair went into Becketts, re-taking the race lead just half a lap after he lost it.
After breezing past Adam Morgan on the straight, the very light Infiniti Q50 of Sutton was now right on the tail of the leading pair with just a few laps to go.
He tried to go around the outside of Oliphant at Brooklands, but the BMW driver just did enough by squeezing him out and keeping the place.
On the final lap though, Sutton managed to get the drive out of Luffield and pull alongside Oliphant. The pair went side-by-side through Copse with Oliphant holding firm, however it wasn’t enough as Sutton finally completed the move into Becketts.
All this allowed Jackson to open up a few tenths advantage and hang on to claim his first ever BTCC victory.
“I’m really, really emotional,” said Jackson. “It was terrible obviously for Rory, thankfully it sounds like he’s okay. Amazing day, after not a brilliant qualifying, and to make it back up, to get a good start and to actually take the win is amazing – I’m living the dream.
“I wanted it. It’s taken long enough, so I wasn’t going to give it away easily this time. I absolutely gave it my all.”
After finishing in second place and with Colin Turkington not able to move forward, finishing 10th, Sutton now re-takes control of the championship by a margin of four points.
“I’ve now realised where our pace at Donington went,” responded Sutton. “It’s the weight in the car. Since then we’ve had weight in the car, and you’ve taken it out and we’re back to where we were at Donington. The thing is absolutely phenomenal. I can’t get over it.
“I could see that Tom (Oliphant) was struggling a bit with Ollie (Jackson) and there was a bit of elbows going on there and I thought I would try and take advantage of that. It kind of fell into my hands. Tom gave me a load of racing room through turn one and I respect that, he didn’t run me wide or anything like that. He gave it his best shot with Ollie and unfortunately there weren’t enough laps for me to have a go.”
Unfortunately for Sutton though, after the race he was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage during an incident with Oliphant. As a result, their positions were reversed.
A second place for Oliphant rounds off a day that started with a suspension failure and a DNF in race one whilst third for Sutton is still enough to see him leave Silverstone with the championship lead.
Dan Cammish rounded off a solid day with fourth whilst Morgan finishing fifth and Senna Proctor sixth.
Seventh was BTC Racing’s Josh Cook with Aiden Moffat eighth and Chilton ninth.
Colin Turkington finished in 10th with Matt Neal in 11th and Bobby Thompson in 12th.
Chris Smiley was 13th with Carl Boardley in 14th and Jake Hill in 15th.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Championship now moves onto Croft in two weeks’ time.
Header image courtesy of BTCC/Jakob Ebrey
By Jordan Hollands.