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Marcus Simmons

BTCC Oulton Park: Hill breaks Sutton’s winning run in race one

Once he had got the jump on the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST of poleman Sutton at the start, it was imperative for Hill to keep the 2023 points leader at bay while the tyres on his rear-wheel-drive West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport got up to temperature.

Sutton tried a move on the outside of the Island hairpin on the opening lap, but Hill held on.

Next, Sutton got a run on Hill out of Old Hall on the second lap and drew alongside at the Dentons kink – the two rubbed bodywork as Hill just held on and claimed the inside line for Cascades.

Hill and Sutton traded fastest laps in the opening stages, and the honour finally fell to the BMW driver, who managed to eke out an advantage of over a second by the end of the sixth tour.

From then on Hill held the gap mainly between 1-1.5s over the remainder of the race, before finally crossing the line 1.874s to the good.

“It feels like it’s been a bit of a one-man show so far,” said Hill, whose win was his first of the season.

“Especially on the soft tyre, the BMW’s extremely strong off the line – I got a fantastic start and I’m not sure Ash got the best of starts.

“We all know the Ford’s incredibly strong at the start of a race, but my car came on by the second lap and I was able to disappear.”

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

“The BMWs have had a change to their start procedure [they were given extra start boost from last time out at Thruxton],” said Sutton.

“To be fair I didn’t get the cleanest of starts, and there was no way I was living with that Bee-Em.

“I tried around the outside of Turn 2 and I got shown the grass so I thought, ‘OK, I’m sitting here.’”

By the finish, Tom Ingram was getting close to Sutton at the wheel of his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N.

The reigning champion made smart progress from sixth on the grid, first passing the slow-starting Team Hard Cupra Leon of Bobby Thompson, then nabbing fourth from Dan Cammish’s Motorbase Ford into Old Hall on lap two.

Ricky Collard clung onto third place in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla for four laps, before a dive from Ingram meant the position swapped hands.

Collard spent most of the race with his mirrors full of Cammish, Josh Cook’s One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R and Thompson.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

While the quartet stayed in close formation, none of the positions changed hands.

After Rory Butcher ran wide onto the grass at Knickerbrook, the race’s best battle became for eighth.

Aron Taylor-Smith endeavoured to keep his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra ahead of the marauding WSR BMWs of Adam Morgan, Stephen Jelley and Colin Turkington, the four-time champion who was storming through from the back of the grid.

After much contact and swapping of paint, Morgan established himself in eighth, with Turkington ninth and Jelley 10th.

Taylor-Smith then suffered a heavy crash on the penultimate lap.

The chasing Dan Rowbottom suffered a brake failure aboard his Motorbase Ford on the run to Druids, which forced him to take to the grass on the inside of the corner.

Rowbottom, who was mortified and apologetic about the outcome, then made contact with the Vauxhall of the innocent Taylor-Smith, who was fired into the barriers.

BTCC Oulton Park race one results

Cla Driver Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Jake Hill    
2 United Kingdom Ashley Sutton 1.874 1.874
3 United Kingdom Tom Ingram 2.563 0.689
4 United Kingdom Ricky Collard 10.181 7.618
5 United Kingdom Dan Cammish 10.583 0.402
6 United Kingdom Josh Cook 11.090 0.507
7 Bobby Thompson 11.566 0.476
8 United Kingdom Adam Morgan 17.674 6.108
9 United Kingdom Colin Turkington 18.676 1.002
10 United Kingdom Stephen Jelley 21.899 3.223
11 United Kingdom Daniel Lloyd 24.713 2.814
12 United Kingdom Tom Chilton 25.416 0.703
13 Mikey Doble 30.406 4.990
14 Dexter Patterson 31.342 0.936
15 United Kingdom Andrew Watson 32.005 0.663
16 United Kingdom Rory Butcher 33.450 1.445
17 Jack Butel 41.528 8.078
18 Ronan Pearson 42.147 0.619
19 Will Powell 49.674 7.527
20 United Kingdom Aiden Moffat 53.180 3.506
21 Nicolas Hamilton 53.552 0.372
22 Jade Edwards 53.900 0.348
23 Nick Halstead 54.260 0.360
  United Kingdom Daniel Rowbottom 1 Lap 1 Lap
  Ireland Aron Taylor-Smith 2 Laps 1 Lap
  George Gamble 9 Laps 7 Laps
  United Kingdom Sam Osborne 13 Laps 4 Laps
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