Sutton ready to hit ‘reset button’ during summer break after double points haul at Oulton
Ashley Sutton experienced a demanding fifth event of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season this past weekend (June 29/30) at Oulton Park, scoring a pair of points finishes.
Having enjoyed success around the picturesque Cheshire venue in recent years, the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing driver entered the meeting optimistic of continuing his front-running consistency in front of a packed-out crowd.
Running inside the top ten at one stage early on in qualifying, Sutton had his fastest time removed during the mid-point of the session due to exceeding track limits. Fighting back to set a 1:26.581s lap time, the Subaru driver salvaged P14, which then became P13 following a grid penalty for Chris Smiley.
During race one, the 25-year-old found himself in the thick of the action from the start, picking up two places on the opening tour. Sutton showcased his overtaking skillset with a late dive down the inside of Jason Plato’s Vauxhall at the hairpin to secure eighth, where he would go on to ultimately finish, on the penultimate lap.
Following a five-place grid penalty due to contact in the first race of the day, the former Jack Sears Trophy champion saw his chances of progress from 13th on the grid halted on the first lap of race two, after contact sent him spinning at the exit of Cascades.
Forced to pit with resulting damage, Sutton rejoined as the field followed behind the safety car. As soon as racing resumed the Subaru driver was soon on the move and scythed his way from the back of the grid to 16th, narrowly missing out on a points finish.
Lining up on the eighth row of the grid for race three, the push for points continued as the manufacturer-backed driver charged into the top ten, capping off his weekend in seventh place.
Heading into the annual five-week summer break, Sutton remains inside the top five in the BTCC Drivers’ Championship, placing fifth, whilst Adrian Flux Subaru Racing sit third and fifth in the BTCC Manufacturers’ Championship and BTCC Teams’ Championship standings respectively.
“It has been a frustrating weekend but I sort of expected that we would struggle,” said Sutton. “Everyone at Adrian Flux Subaru Racing has worked tirelessly once again and we are giving it the full fury of the car. I don’t think I could have got any more out of the package.
“We’ll get our heads down during the summer break but our little toolbox that we delve into to try and extract more out of the car is becoming empty. It’s a nice time to hit the reset button and we will come back stronger at Snetterton.”
Sutton’s team-mate Senna Proctor continued his challenging start to the campaign at Oulton, although he did complete all three races in 22nd, 18th, and 20th respectively.
Sutton, Proctor and Adrian Flux Subaru Racing are set to join a majority of teams at Snetterton on July 16/17 for the traditional in-season test before the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship returns to the Norfolk venue on August 3/4 for Rounds 16, 17 & 18.