Wins for Morgan Sutton and Smiley as the BTCC says goodbye to Rockingham

Morgan leads race one (Photo by Marc Waller)The BTCC made would looks set to be it’s final ever visit to Rockingham on Northamptonshire at the weekend.

The Corby circuit went out with some spectacular racing that saw wins for Adam Morgan Ashley Sutton and a first ever win for Chris Smiley.
Adam Morgan had taken his first ever pole position on Saturday and he converted this into a dominant lights to flag win in race one. Behind, the battle for the other podium slots was fierce.

An uncharacteristically poor start from Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish from third saw him challenged by Tom Chilton in the Shredded wheat Ford Focus as they headed down to the hairpin.

Cammish braked late to try and keep his place but knocked Sam Tordoff into a spin with the resulting chaos taking out a number of cars, fortunately most without race ending damage.

When the race got going again after the safety car period needed for the clear up, Sutton dived past Chilton at the Esses to take second place. From there he pulled away.

Chilton managed to hold on to third with Cammish and Daniel Lloyd crossing the line side by side for fourth. Llloyd just edged the place for his Norlin team in the manufacturer backed team’s old cars. The margin was just 0.059 of a second!

Adam Morgan spoke after the race about his relatively comfortable win;

“Winning is always an incredibly nice feeling. To bring it back on the top spot is fantastic and as always, a massive thanks to Ciceley Motorsport and Mac Tools. The main objective was to get off the line and into turn two in the lead. I was a little more cautious once I’d got there, on the brakes and with the kerbs when the rain started to fall. After that, though, I just tried not to look behind me and to get away. It was slippery four or five laps in and with Tom (Chilton) behind, I was careful. He gained but then it dried and with the temperature in the tyres we pulled the gap. I saw Ash [Sutton] coming but I was calm and relaxed. It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders winning from my first ever pole.”

Race two saw Sutton immediately overhaul Morgan off the line and pull into a similar lead to Morgan’s in race one but Morgan managed to hang on close enough the Sutton’s race was never quite as comfortable. Despite this, he was never able to make a move to pass.

“It was like re-living Race two at Snetterton. We made the right call on tyres at the last minute. We’d gone on wets and we started on stone cold dries – everyone else had a couple of sighter laps to warm up. It’s very much like last year how things are playing out so far this season – better late than never! We’re getting there with the car in race trim and we’ve got something. The Adrian Flux Subaru Racing guys have done a great job. We were third after Race two at Snetterton but finished up seventh, it’s an indicator of how quick things can change so we’re not counting any chickens.”

Behind the front two, the battle for third place was where the best entertainment was to be found.

Tom Ingram eventually grabbed the place after starting twenty seventh on the grid. He had a great drive through the field and then an entertaining battle with Power Maxed Vauxhall driver Senna Proctor. He had already passed title rival Turkington for fifth on lap fifteen with both of them then passing Mike Bushell and he now closed on Senna Proctor.

Sutton leads race two with Moffat already heading to retirement after a lap one crash (Photo by Marc Waller) Smiley leads race three (Photo by Marc Waller) Turkington was on top by the end of race three (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Proctor went wide across the grass at Brook once and managed to hang on but a repeat of the mistake a second time saw Ingram through to complete a remarkable run to the podium.

Ingram celebrates third from twenty seventh (Photo by Marc Waller) Smiley celebrates his win and maybe the final BTCC win at Rockingham (Photo by Marc Waller) Race one podium (Photo by Marc Waller) Race two podium (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Ingram spoke after the race;

“There’s a lesson in this: don’t let yourself get beaten up, don’t let your head go down and look at the positives in any situation. For all the negatives you get, every so often you get a real positive and you can have some fun coming through from the back like that. I got to 12th pretty early on and my engineer said ‘you’ve got the rest of the race to do the rest of it’. For the second weekend running, we’ve had to do the same thing but credit to the lads. We were up against it after Race one and we only just got the car back out ahead of Race two. Thanks to everyone at home for the messages of encouragement again. It really helps.”

At this point Ingram had the championship lead once more from Colin Turkington but Turkington then fought to second in race three to retake the championship lead by four points.

Race three was significant in seeing Chris Smiley’s first ever BTCC win as well as possibly the final ever BTCC win at Rockingham. Matt Simpson had looked set for second before a mistake on the final lap saw Turkington pass. Simpson then had a drag race to the line with Tordoff and Ingram. Simpson beating Tordoff by just 0.029 of a second.

Turkington spoke about his weekend and regaining the championship lead from Ingram;

“That was excellent. I decided I’d go for it and try and get on the front foot and be aggressive but it was ultimately a race of patience for me. We had the speed in the car and it was about picking the right moment. It was good to get a points swing back in Team BMW’s direction and it’s always nice to bring one of these yellow Dunlop winners caps home for the kids! It’s points in the bag and I’d always rather that, even with the added pressure of leading the championship into a race weekend. We always enjoy Scotland whatever the result. A massive thanks must go to Team BMW – they grafted so hard all weekend.”

As well as Turkington heading the Drivers’ championship, Team BMW lead both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ standings. It’s Speedworks Motorsport topping both Independents’ tables. Dan Cammish leads the Jack Sears Trophy.

The championship returns in less than two weeks’ time for Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill on the 25th and 26th of August.

The final words go to Chris Smiley on his win;


“You’ve no idea what I’ve been through to get that win – I’ve been through hell and back. I can’t thank Bert Taylor, Stephen Symington and Richard Irwin enough for everything they’ve done for me. They’ve put me here and had faith in me and that win is for them. This is the first time I’ve ever topped a practice, qualifying or a race and I can’t believe it. I’m so grateful to the team, all the guys and girls working so hard and to my sponsors. It could get a little bit fun later on!”

Results and penalties from Rockingham

2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 19 – Rockingham
1 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport 18 laps
2 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +3.017s
3 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +7.031s
4 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +7.293s
5 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +7.352s
6 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +8.830s
7 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +9.459s
8 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +11.934s
9 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +13.547s
10 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +14.306s

2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 20 – Rockingham
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 19 laps
2 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +4.426s
3 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +5.315s
4 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +7.327s
5 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +8.170s
6 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +12.469s
7 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +12.579s
8 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +12.722s
9 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +15.417s
10 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +16.541s

2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 21 – Rockingham
1 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing 16 laps
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +3.563s
3 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +5.156s
4 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +5.187s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +5.305s
6 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +9.781s
7 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +12.970s
8 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +17.083s
9 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +17.811s
10 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +18.060s

Penalties

General

Adrian Flux Subaru Racing has had 10 points deducted from its Manufacturers' and Teams' Championship scores having changed an engine above the number permitted

Team Parker Racing has had 10 points deducted from its Teams' Championship score having changed an engine above the number permitted

Dan Cammish was fined the sum of £1,500 following comment that fell foul of regulations made in a television interview

Race one

Ricky Collard was officially reprimanded and had his licence endorsed with two penalty points for overtaking under yellow flag conditions

Rob Austin received a verbal warning for an incident involving Ollie Jackson. This does not count as a strike

James Cole was officially reprimanded and had his licence endorsed with two penalty points for an incident involving Tom Oliphant

Dan Cammish was officially reprimanded and had his licence endorsed with two penalty points for an incident involving Sam Tordoff

Race two

Ollie Jackson was officially reprimanded and had his licence endorsed with two penalty points for an incident involving Bobby Thompson

Chris Smiley was penalised with the addition of 0.8 seconds to his race time for an incident involving Mike Bushell. This does not count as a strike

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