BTCC 2022 – Round 7 Snetterton

BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights

Following a summer of hot temperatures, the formerly green grass at Snetterton resembled the colour you’d expect from a wheat field. At Knockhill, the West Surrey Racing BMWs ramped up the heat on the rest of the title challengers with Colin Turkington taking a slender championship lead, but would the pattern continue?

BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights
Qualifying – Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Tom Ingram, Stephen Jelley, Adam Morgan, Jason PlatO

Despite having no hybrid power to use in the session, Turkington claimed his third pole position of the season by less than a tenth of the second from teammate Jake Hill. Although Stephen Jelley thought he’d claimed a WSR top three, his lap time was disallowed and he lined up fourth behind Tom Ingram, who started the day just five points behind Turkington. Another BMW, of Adam Morgan, was fifth while Jason Plato completed the top six with one of his best efforts of the campaign. 

BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights
Race One, 5.5/10 – Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Tom Ingram
  • The top three got away well, but over the lap, Jelley and Morgan swapped places a couple of times before Morgan secured fourth. It was an impressive lap for the early championship leader, Josh Cook, who moved up to 14th, after starting 22nd
  • The top two started to get away from the rest of the pack, while a little further down, NAPA Racing duo, Dan Cammish and Ash Sutton made similar passes to move up the order in the top ten. 
  • Progress was halted on lap 5 as the safety car was called for to recover Michael Crees’ smoking Astra. After the re-start, Turkington’s initial gap disappeared as Hill closed up to his bumper, although the duo started to build another gap to the pack. 
  • The next safety car was needed to try and collect a broken Infiniti belonging to Aiden Moffat after he cut across Cook, but it resulted with him being fired into the barriers. Despite trying to tow the car, it was soon strangely decided to leave it there until the end of the race.
  • As the race re-started, it followed a similar pattern with Turkington and Hill clearing off into the distance to leave the others to battle it out behind them, although there weren’t any significant moves in the top ten.
BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights
Race Two, 5/10 – Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Tom Ingram
  • There was a terrific start to the race as Hill challenged Turkington and the pair were side by side for half a lap before Turkington managed to get his nose ahead. All down the field, there were great battles for the first two to three laps, with many winners and losers.
  • Like in the first race, Turkington and Hill started to scamper off, leaving Ingram relatively lonely in third, but their advantage was soon eradicated by a safety car period caused by Gordon Shedden stopping out on track. 
  • After a few laps, the race re-started, but Moffat was soon out again, before the lead duo once again pulled away from the rest of the pack. Despite Hill applying some late pressure by using up his hybrid, Turkington held station before easing out a small gap to win his second race of the day. 
BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights
Race Three, 6.5/10 – Ash Sutton, Jason Plato, Ricky Collard*, Tom Ingram
  • Sutton was drawn on pole from ninth and Dan Rowbottom lined up alongside him. Celebrating his 650thrace, Jason Plato was third, where he was joined by Ricky Collard. 
  • Rowbottom made the better start and took the lead, but it didn’t last long. A couple of corners into the lap, he went wide and lost the lead to Sutton, who was then also followed through by Plato. 
  • With Sutton and Plato starting to gap the others, Rory Butcher turned Jelley around to take 6th and he later received a penalty for the move. 
  • Rowbottom was struggling with a hybrid issue and despite some excellent defending for periods of the race, he eventually lost out to a stream of cars to eventually finish 10th. At the mid-point of the race, Collard and Ingram, Rowbottom and Hill, as well as Turkington and Morgan were all paired together in battles. 
  • At the front, Sutton had a comfortable lead from Plato, who in turn was comfortable from Collard and Ingram. However, on the final lap, Ingram managed to overtake Collard after laps of pressure, only to leave the door open for Collard to come back through. Although Collard crossed the line third, he was adjudged to have been too aggressive on re-passing Ingram and the places were reversed post-race.
BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights

The heat at Snetterton, above thirty degrees, in each race certainly helped the BMWs as they were able to spread their weight across their tyres more compared to the front wheel drive machines. However, it was still up to the BMWs to make hay while the sun was shining – Turkington and Hill certainly did. It was by far Turkington’s best performance of the season as he didn’t drop a single point over the weekend until the final race, which was his 500th in the series. Even when Hill went faster than him in the second race, Turkington still stormed back to claim the fastest lap point.

Could we be looking at our first BTCC five-time champion in Turkington? He certainly hasn’t done his chances any harm by winning races one and two, the fifth time a driver has secured a double in seven meetings this season. The conditions undoubtedly helped Turkington, as the last specialist real rear wheel drive circuit on the calendar was last time out at Knockhill. However, a lead of 15 points is nothing in the BTCC, especially with nine races left, but Turkington would rather have the points than not. 

BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights

Ingram, despite being in a front wheel drive, banged in consistent lap times over the weekend and a treble of thirds has kept his championship challenge very much alive. The Hyundai, especially under his stewardship, has been excellent this season and the opportunity is still well within reach for Ingram to take his first crown. It is a highly aerodynamic car and this should help him again next time out with the high speed nature of the track at Thruxton.

In the season’s first meeting at Thruxton, Hill secured a brace of seconds, before a last race pitstop to sort out his bumper was needed. WSR are going to have an interesting end to the season with Turkington and Hill right in the middle of the championship hunt. How are the team orders going to play out? Who are they going to favour? Are the drivers going to respect the team orders? All of this is of course made slightly more complicated as Hill runs under the MB Motorsport banner. Hill has been outstanding this year, in his debut season in a rear wheel drive car, and has given Turkington a full run for his money. There is no doubt that Hill is most certainly a serious contender. 

BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights

Meanwhile, Sutton followed up his first win of the season at Knockhill with another at Snetterton. He too went well at Thruxton in May with three bronze place finishes. Sutton is only 25 points behind Turkington and given the fact that he now has the Focus more to his liking, the chances are that Sutton is only going to get stronger as the season reaches its climax. Not since the mid-1980s have we seen a driver win three titles in a row, but Sutton has a real chance of repeating the feat in 2022. 

Cook left Thruxton with a 23-point lead at the end of round three, but in the last three meetings, he has really struggled to get anything out of his car. He has normally been the leader of the team, but at Snetterton it was Plato that came to the fore. Although anything is possible in touring cars, a 72-point deficit to Turkington at this stage would seem like a gap too far to bridge. Cook will have to hope that next time he can build on his outstanding record of winning five of the last six in races one or two at the track to have any chance of keeping his challenge alive. 

BTCC 2022 Snetterton Highlights

At this stage, with nine races to go, it looks like a great four-way battle for the championship. Two of the drivers have been there and done it and two are aiming for their maiden title. All four of them have been consistent across the season and assuming their luck holds, it’s going to be one fascinating battle. 

Championship Standings after 21 races:
1.Colin Turkington282 points
2.Tom Ingram267
3.Jake Hill258
4.Ashley Sutton257
5.Josh Cook210
6.Rory Butcher184

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