Sutton seals Dunlop #ForeverForward honours at Knockhill
Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram extended his lead in Dunlop’s #ForeverForward standings leaving Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill while Ash Sutton took overall weekend honours with a storming 29 points.
The overtaking league recognises and rewards drivers’ fight-backs from adversity and over the prior two weekends it had been Ingram who proved to be the comeback king, following two race one DNFs, one apiece at each of Snetterton at Rockingham which left him 27th on the grid for the second encounter at each of those meetings.
The Speedworks man fought back to third both times, allowing him to keep close tabs on standings leader Colin Turkington despite his misfortune.
At Knockhill, Dunlop’s Sport BluResponse wet tyres came into their own across all chassis and drivetrains in difficult conditions up in the Fife hills. Before the rain on race-day, the weather looked good.
With the circuit seeing a completely new surface laid over the winter, Jason Plato’s qualifying lap record was swiftly beaten in practice, and then again in qualifying as Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish secured his maiden BTCC pole position.
Heavy rainfall dominated on Sunday at Knockhill, seeing Dunlop’s BluResponse tyre put to the test. Reigning champion Ash Sutton revels in mixed conditions and the wet and he duly flew from eighth on the grid to take the race one win.
His pass on Colin Turkington’s BMW 125i M Sport for the lead was voted the fans favourite overtake of the race. It was local driver Rory Butcher, though, who collected the race’s #ForeverForward honours, with 13 places gained moving up from 23rd to tenth on home soil.
The rain didn’t abate for race two, eventually resulting in a red flag and an early end to proceedings but on track, Sutton continued his race one momentum, the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing driver crossing the line first. Ingram charged to second in his Toyota, revelling in the tricky conditions.
Both cars subsequently failed post-race ride height tests, allowing Andrew Jordan to inherit the win, becoming the 13th different winner of the year. Honda’s Matt Neal picked up the most places, gaining 13 positions, with Ingram’s move on Jordan on the last lap voted the fans favourite of the race.
As a result of their exclusion, championship contenders Sutton and Ingram were forced to start from the back of the grid, prime #ForeverForward territory. As anticipated, Sutton carved his way through the field, with the Dunlop BluResponse rubber coping expertly with the torrid conditions.
Tom Chilton became the all-time record 14th different race winner for the season, taking a lights to flag victory and holding off a strong challenge from championship leader Turkington. Sutton came away with the #ForeverForward weekend honours, a total of 29 places gained from the three races, ahead of Butcher on 16.
Dunlop #ForeverForward weekend honours:
1. Ash SUTTON, 29
2. Rory BUTCHER, 16
3. Matt NEAL, 15
4. Stephen JELLEY, 15
5. Tom INGRAM, 15
Dunlop #ForeverForward overall standings:
1. Tom INGRAM, 134
2. Stephen JELLEY, 120
3. Senna PROCTOR, 111
4. Rob AUSTIN, 101
5. Josh COOK, 99
6. Bobby THOMPSON, 98
7. Ash SUTTON, 97
8. Aiden MOFFAT, 92
9. Ollie JACKSON, 89
10. Rory BUTCHER, 89