Brands Hatch BTCC: Cook defeats Proctor as Sutton extends lead

Josh Cook claimed victory in the first race of the British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch, as Ash Sutton extended his points lead with two races remaining.

Brands Hatch BTCC: Cook defeats Proctor as Sutton extends lead

Cook, who had the slenderest of mathematical chances of the crown entering the weekend, lined up second behind the sister BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R of Senna Proctor, but demoted the Yorkshireman into Druids on the opening lap.

Cook, carrying 39kg of success ballast on the Honda, could not pull out a gap on Proctor, but was not challenged on his way to victory by 0.639 seconds.

Attentions instead turned to Gordon Shedden, who got past Team Dynamics Honda teammate Dan Rowbottom for third into Paddock Hill Bend on the second lap.

Shedden then set fastest lap as he closed on the BTC Honda pair, before the safety car appeared due to Andy Neate – who announced his retirement from BTCC competition this morning – going off in the gravel at Druids.

The safety car appeared to take the sting out of the contest and, while Proctor couldn’t get a run on Cook, neither could Shedden on Proctor.

Dan Lloyd took advantage of Shedden’s move on Rowbottom to slip his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra into fourth place at Druids, and held position from there in a processional contest.

Sutton brought his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 home in sixth place ahead of Colin Turkington, while 12th place for Jake Hill and 13th for Tom Ingram mean that they, along with Cook, are now out of contention for the title, which is between Sutton and Turkington.

Turkington jinked his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport inside Aiden Moffat’s LTR Infiniti at Paddock for seventh on the opening lap, and applied pressure to Sutton early on, but the Infiniti drew away after the safety car.

Tom Chilton was ninth in his Ciceley Motorsport BMW, while Stephen Jelley’s WSR BMW followed him for most of the race.

Jelley’s car sounded off-song in the closing stages and he slid down the order, promoting a ferocious scrap between Ollie Jackson’s Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus and Tom Oliphant’s WSR BMW.

Jackson pipped Oliphant to 10th, while Hill held off a ferocious attack from Ingram for 12th, which included a nerf at Clearways as they passed the slowing Jelley.

The result secured BMW its sixth successive BTCC manufacturers' crown, while Laser Tools Racing wrapped up the Independent teams' title.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Gap
1   United Kingdom Josh Cook    
2   United Kingdom Senna Proctor   0.639
3   United Kingdom Gordon Shedden   1.522
4   United Kingdom Daniel Lloyd   2.387
5   United Kingdom Daniel Rowbottom   3.021
6   United Kingdom Ashley Sutton   4.721
7   United Kingdom Colin Turkington   6.673
8   United Kingdom Aiden Moffat   8.081
9   United Kingdom Tom Chilton   9.598
10   United Kingdom Ollie Jackson   17.350
11   United Kingdom Tom Oliphant   17.538
12   United Kingdom Jake Hill   18.454
13   United Kingdom Tom Ingram   18.644
14   United Kingdom Adam Morgan   18.784
15   United Kingdom Chris Smiley   18.803
16   United Kingdom Rory Butcher   19.148
17   United Kingdom Jack Goff   19.981
18   Sam Osborne   21.685
19   United Kingdom Jason Plato   22.147
20   United Kingdom Sam Smelt   22.911
21   United Kingdom Jack Mitchell Jr.   25.044
22   United Kingdom Carl Boardley   30.495
23   United Kingdom Stephen Jelley   30.797
24   Rick Parfitt Jr.   30.975
25   Andy Wilmot   37.693
26   Jade Edwards   39.312
27   Ireland Aron Taylor-Smith   1'13.399
    Nicolas Hamilton   5 Laps
    Andy Neate   13 Laps
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Brands Hatch BTCC: Proctor leads Honda 1-2-3-4, Sutton heads title contenders
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