The British Touring Car Championship rounds at Croft featured plenty of action, drama and incidents – but who were the winners and losers?
A trip to North Yorkshire treated us to a display of racing to remember thanks to the fast, sweeping bends at Croft Circuit.
Due to the weekend layout, drivers can turn an underwhelming start from Race 1 to a thrilling end with some points in Race 3, from the beginning to the end of a frantic race day.
There were drivers encountering races to forget whilst others were becoming ‘winners of the weekend’.
Here are our top-picked winners and losers from the event.
Winner: Jake Hill
MB Motorsport’s star driver showed yet again why he is a genuine threat to Sutton’s title this year.
He comes out of Croft with a win and a solid haul of points in all three races.
The winner of Race 2 on Sunday had a solid free practice running.
But it was his brilliant qualifying which began the spotlight, putting his Ford Focus just behind Aidan Moffat’s Infiniti by just 0.040s.
Hill showed lighting quick pace in all three races, taking that victory due from his intense and prolonging battle with Moffat.
A victory was certainly the target in the second race and that was achieved from being opportunistic thus building a gap to Moffat – of whom had to fend off drivers behind.
Heading into Race 3, he carried the maximum 75 kg weight ballast so winning was not on the cards.
Nevertheless, he pulled his Ford Focus ST to finish third amongst a jumbled, reverse grid field and concluded one of his most successful weekends in recent times with P2 in the standings to match.
Loser: Jack Goff
After multiple weekends of strong results and scoring the maiden podium for Team HARD’s new Cupra, he build a promising 10-race points streak.
Croft was a shocking weekend in comparison to the early races of the season.
Friday practice was nothing out of the normal. If anything Goff was looking fast and competitive with his times. Unfortunately for him, qualifying would not continue in the same tone.
Both of Goff’s fast laps where impeded by drivers on outlaps causing him to start out of position in 16th place. This was one position outside the points threshold but the placement of traffic affected multiple drivers, even if he was the worst to suffer.
Sunday’s races unfortunately got worse and worse for Goff.
He finished the first race further down from where he qualified after contact with multiple cars at the first corner ruined any chance of progressing.
The second race was not much better, finishing 16th after not really being able to show any progress in terms of pace.
And during the final race him and fellow Team HARD driver, Jack Mitchell, got caught up in a chaotic accident at Turn 1 on the first lap immediately putting both cars out of the race.
Winner: Aiden Moffat
The youngest driver on the grid has been Ash Sutton’s right-hand man so far this season, even if the two-time champion has often run away to his own fights.
However last weekend, the charging Scotsman took a stunning maiden pole position on Saturday. At the opening race, he pursued his first ‘pole to checkered flag victory’ in the BTCC.
The Infiniti Q50 is a race-winning (and championship-winning) package as Ash Sutton has highlighted since the beginning of last year when it debuted.
It was a wonderful masterclass in defence when he fought for the win whilst fending off Jake Hill.
The racing was the best from the whole weekend as they left each other room but kept themselves on edge till the finish.
Moffat was, as to be expected, delighted. He had elevated himself up in the standings from nowhere in one weekend.
Throughout Friday he was showing to be on pace with defending champion and teammate Ash Sutton, But Saturday was where he shined.
A fantastic performance set him up perfectly for the best race day performance of his life and the fourth of many BTCC victories.
Loser: Rory Butcher
Rory Butcher’s weekend was over before it really started.
The Scotsman showed great pace last time out at Thruxton, but here, he crashed out in qualifying giving a workload on the Speedworks mechanics to make sure the car would be ready to take the lights come Sunday.
So he started at the back after not setting a time in qualifying and ended up finishing 19th ahead of his teammate Sam Smelt, gaining no points but climbed 10 places.
Race 2 was even worse when he was taken out during the race, adding to his weekend’s woes as he was missing out on crucial points to keep what was seventh in the standings.
His best performance of the weekend was in Race 3, finishing 11th and earning some points from a weekend he is keen to forget about.
Look out for the flying Scotsman in Silverstone this weekend; he has a lot of points to steal back from his rivals around him.
Winner: Aron Taylor-Smith
After the worst possible weekend in Thruxton, he was looking to turn around his fate around in this year’s championship at Croft and show his true pace that the fans all know he has. He did just that.
His pace in practice was ideal, and qualifying was much better than his previous efforts to put himself 22nd. Taylor-Smith was looking like a serious contender for points this weekend.
With strong showings in all the races on Sunday, he will be delighted that his season in the new Cupra is at looking up again. But he will have to continue the positive streak to make it worthwhile.
The highlight of the weekend had to be in the final race where he made up 10 places on a circuit where overtaking is earnt and not simply gifted. He should also take credit for his awareness at the pileup that took place at the beginning.
The important thing for him and his team, Team HARD Racing, is they carry this momentum into Silverstone this weekend.
The Cupra has yet to perform there in race conditions so expectations are put high from what can be achieved.
Loser: Ollie Jackson
One side of the MB Motorsport garage was all smiles and successes in the hands of Jake Hill.
However, the bitter out of the team’s bittersweet weekend went about as bad as it could have gone for their Ollie Jackson.
He had a pretty woeful qualifying considering what the Ford Focus ST was capable of, and then only finished one race.
At the opener race, Jackson got tangled up with Team Dynamics driver Dan Rowbottom and the Hyundai of Chris Smiley at the final hairpin. Jackson would have to retire on the following lap due to the amount of damage sustained.
Admittingly, Race 2 was his best of the weekend finishing 14th with a couple of points after starting from the back. He encountered no real dramas but he wasn’t making any major progress up the field either.
And during the final one, he retired from the same incident that also took out Jack Goff and Jack Mitchell in their Cupras to conclude a challenging affair at Croft.
Jackson will be chomping at the chance to prove himself this weekend at Silverstone and put his name back up into the top-10 again.
We know he is capable of running towards the front, but the competition has spiced up more than ever this season.
If last year was to learn by after he got his maiden win, then expect him to turn things around this weekend.
Heading into Silverstone, the championship’s second part to the first double header this year, there are a lot of drivers who will need to improve on their performances from Croft.
DNF’s and non-points finishes won’t cut it for them so it should be an enthralling weekend of comebacks and surprise performances up and down the field.
The repeat cameo of a top-10 shootout in qualifying should also make things interesting…