Dan Cammish and Colin Turkington, whose battle for the 2019 British Touring Car Championship final went to the final lap of the year, both took wins in the delayed 2020 season-opener at Donington Park. Former champion Ash Sutton also took a race victory, the first for the Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 squad.
The 27-race season, which was due to start in March but was delayed due to Covid-19, began at Donington Park without spectators present, following a government ruling that the Autocar-backed BTCC was an elite sport.
Reigning title holder Turkington put his Team BMW 330i M Sport on pole for the first race, but was pursued in the early stages by Sutton and Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R racer Cammish.
Sutton pushed Turkington hard, and on the fourth lap got alongside the BMW heading into McLeans. But that gave Cammish an opportunity and he somehow squeezed past both his rivals to take the lead. Tom Ingram (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) then lightly tapped Turkington, who in turn tapped Sutton, pitching the Q50 into a spin.
Cammish held off Turkington to take the win, with Rory Butcher (Motorbase Ford Focus RS) completing the podium ahead of Ingram. Aided by a safety car, Sutton recovered to 14th.Turkington wasted no time turning the tables on Cammish in race two, charging past the Civic Type R on the run to the first turn and then dominating the race.
Cammish struggled running maximum success ballast and was powerless to stop Butcher, Tom Oliphant (Team BMW 330i M Sport) and Ingram from passing him early on. Those three battled for second place, with Butcher finally bagging the spot.
The star of the race was Sutton, who charged through the order from 14th on the grid, eventually overhauling Cammish to claim a mighty fifth place.
Sutton lined up eighth for the partially reverse grid final race, and quickly worked up to join a four-way battle for the lead with Ollie Jackson (Focus RS), Chris Smiley (ExcelR8 Hyundai i30 Fastback N) and Josh Cook (Civic Type R).
Smiley took an early edge in the battle, showing strong form on the first outing for the new i30 Fastback N, but Sutton worked his way up to second and eventually moved into the lead just after the midway point.
Cammish completed a strong weekend with seventh, while the ballast-laden Turkington took tenth place.
The next event is at Brands Hatch on August 8/9.