BTCC Croft: Cook fends off Hill for Honda 1-2 in opener

Cook fends off Hill for Honda 1-2 in the croft opener
Josh Cook fought off a race-long challenge from Jake Hill when the Honda Civics won 2-1 in the first race of the British Touring Car Championship of the day at Croft.
On a partly damp track after wet weather overnight, the policeman Cook and his colleague Hill did everything in their power to stay at the front of the field in the first laps.
Hill was pushed off the line by Colin Turkington's West Surrey Racing-driven BMW 330i M Sport, and Tom Oliphant's second BMW also made its way into the first corner of Clervaux.
But Hill threw it outside of Oliphant and then Turkington into the Hawthorne corner below to re-establish himself in second place.
Hill then crossed the start / finish line alongside Cook's BTC Racing Honda, but Cook held up at Clervaux.
Cook, unsuccessful in ballast, then began gaining an advantage over Hill's older AmD run, MB Motorsport Honda, which was outfitted with 6kg of ballast.
The gap grew to 0.927 seconds two-thirds away before Hill flaked off again, leaving the deficit on the checkered flag only 0.653 seconds.
"That was a tough race," said Cook. "I've almost dropped it [on the slippery track] a few times and I've probably had five years to lose my life expectancy!
"Jake put on a little pressure so I'm excited to bring him home."
Turkington, who carried 54kg of successful ballast, shadowed Hill for much of the race but stated that he was oversteered to stay with the Hondas and focused on bringing him home in third.
Cook fends off Hill for Honda 1-2 in the croft opener
The other focal point of the race was an exceptional recovery drive by Ash Sutton, the championship leader before the weekend, after a spin on the first lap.
Sutton, with the full 60 kg successful ballast on his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50, improved from his starting position from sixth to fifth and rounded off Oliphant on the tower to fourth.
Rory Butcher, who had moved up from tenth on the grid with his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, followed Sutton past Oliphant, then nudged the Infiniti into the end of the lap complex and spun it into a spin, which also delayed Oliphant.
Sutton finished the first lap in 14th place, but rose to fifth. His most common move was a late jump into the hairpin.
Sutton's final pass came with two and a half laps remaining as he zapped Tom Chilton's BTC Racing Honda into the tower, but fourth-placed Butcher was too far ahead to make further progress, meaning Turkington is now on par with Sutton is top of the championship table.
Chilton was caught by Matt Neal's Team Dynamics-led Honda at the end of the race but only kept him in check for sixth place.
Bobby Thompson, who started his Trade Price Cars Audi fifth, did a commendable job of finishing eighth despite smoke being smoked from a tire on a wheel arch at the start of the race.
Thompson crossed the line with Adam Morgan's Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes, Dan Cammish and Oliphant's second Dynamics Honda right on his tail.
Tom Ingram, who started from the back row after losing his pole position when his Toyota Corolla driven by Speedworks Motorsport failed the ride height test, finished 13th.
Results of the first BTCC Croft race - 15 laps
Item
driver
team
dare
gap
1
Josh Cook
BTC Racing
Honda
20m58.839s
2
Jake Hill
AmD tuning
Honda
0.653 s
3
Colin Turkington
WSR
BMW
3.573s
4th
Rory Butcher
Motor base performance
ford
8,592s
5
Ash Sutton
Laser Tools Racing
Infiniti
10.348s
6th
Tom Chilton
BTC Racing
Honda
13.245s
7th
Matt Neal
Team dynamics
Honda
13.436s
8th
Bobby Thompson
Cars Racing trade price
Audi
16.909s
9
Adam Morgan
Ciceley Motorsport
Mercedes
17.248s
10
Dan Cammish
Team dynamics
Honda
17.663s
11
Tom Oliphant
WSR
BMW
17,890s
12
Chris Smiley
Excelr8 motorsport
Hyundai
21.148s
13
Tom Ingram
Speedworks Motorsport
Toyota
21,553s
14th
Ollie Jackson
Motor base performance
ford
23.441s
fifteen
Stephen Jelley
Team Parker Racing
BMW
23.748s
16
Aiden Moffat
Laser Tools Racing
Infiniti
25.347s
17th
Jack Goff
Team tough
Volkswagen
27.187s
18th
Senna Proctor
Excelr8 motorsport
Hyundai
27.663s
19th
Mike Bushell
Team tough
Volkswagen
28.220s
20th
Carl Boardley
Team tough
BMW
40.219s
21st
Andy Neate
Motor base performance
ford
55,454s
22nd
Michael Crees
BTC Racing
Honda
1 round
- -
Jack Butel
Ciceley Motorsport
Mercedes
retirement
- -
Nicolas Hamilton
Team tough
Volkswagen
retirement
- -
Sam Osborne
AmD tuning
Honda
retirement
- -
Jac Constable
Power Maxed Racing
Opel
Withdrawn
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