Currently reading: BTCC 2022: Ingram emerges ahead in first races of new hybrids
With three winners across three races, it was good to see the BTCC remaining on top form

In a typically varied and competitive weekend of British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) racing, Hyundai i30 N Fastback man Tom Ingram ended the Donington Park opener with a seven-point lead over the Honda Civic Type R of Gordon Shedden. Triple champion Ash Sutton lies third in his Ford Focus.

Ingram seizes his moment

Jake Hill and his Rokit MB Motorsport BMW 330e earned their place in the history books with the first ever pole position for the new hybrid-era BTCC cars, but it wasn’t to be in the race itself.

Hill and West Surrey Racing stablemate Colin Turkington got away well from the lights and traded places throughout the opening couple of laps, but as they went into Coppice for the second time, Hill ran wide and Ingram seized his chance.

From there, the Hyundai man managed to keep everyone at bay, including Team BMW’s Turkington, to secure his 20th BTCC career win.

Hill ended up third at the flag but was later excluded from the result for failing post-race ride height checks. Shedden inherited the final podium spot as a result, having climbed from sixth on the grid.

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Shedden’s weekend got even better in race two, as he managed to climb from third to first over the course of the 16-lap race.

It was Ingram, rookie George Gamble and Shedden over the first few laps, as Turkington failed to get away cleanly from his front row grid spot. The BMW 330e M Sport of Gamble continued his impressive debut in the championship, keeping three-time champion Shedden behind for four laps before the Honda man passed him on the run across the start/finish line.

From there, Shedden chased down Ingram and passed him on lap 10. Ingram kept him honest for the remaining six laps, eventually finishing just 0.197sec behind, with Gamble a further 2.2sec down the road.

The BTCC's new hybrid tactics also came into play, as both Shedden and Ingram saved their power boost for later in the race. Unlike in the first race, this time there were different levels of hybrid assist available to each of the drivers, acting as the equivalent of a success ballast, so teams were unsure as to what rivals’ had available.

As Shedden explained: ““This is the first time that everyone has had a different level of hybrid available to them, so I’m managing what I want to do and I obviously don’t know what [Ingram is] going to do, so it’s a little bit of cat-and-mouse.”

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Hill’s weekend finally comes good

Hill had a stand-out race after the disappointment of his disqualification in the opening round. He went from last to ninth in race two, then followed that up with a win in the last event of the day.

The BMW man benefited from the reverse grid format, lining up first on the grid and never really being challenged, finishing 2.1sec up on the Focus of Sutton.

It was the third podium spot that provided all the entertainment, as Rich Energy BTC Racing’s Josh Cook eventually passed Dan Lloyd on the penultimate lap. It wasn’t just a simple, one-apex pass though, as both cars ran side by side all the way from Redgate and down through the Craner Curves. It was only when they got to the Old Hairpin that Cook made the move stick.

Third to fifth were covered by less than a second at the flag.

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