SUTTON REFLECTS ON ROLLERCOASTER WEEKEND
Ash Sutton endured a rollercoaster of emotions during the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, as the Laser Tools Racing driver now heads to Snetterton, the penultimate event of the 2020 campaign, leading the standings.
Croft proved to be a blockbuster race day, as Sutton produced a pair of stunning fightback drives to ensure he remained in the box seat to clinch UK motorsport’s most coveted prize for a second time.
Having sat on provisional pole position for the majority of a damp qualifying session, the Infiniti Q50 driver skated off-track at Clearvaux with less than ten minutes remaining, bringing out the red flag and subsequently losing his fastest time.
Unable to rejoin, Sutton was ultimately classified in eighth, however this later became sixth following the exclusion of two rivals ahead of him.
The 26-year-old wasted no time in moving forward in race one as he slipped into fourth by Tower Bend and then began to pursue main title protagonist Colin Turkington, before contact would see the #116 machine drop down the order to 13th.
Widely renowned for his overtaking prowess, the BRDC Superstar put on a show and charged back through the order, making several eye-catching moves at the hairpin to finish fourth.
Lining up on the second row of the grid for race two, the former Jack Sears Trophy winner soon saw his fortunes turn upside down once again.
Comfortably sitting in a podium position at the halfway stage of the contest, Sutton made a move for second place heading into the hairpin, before subsequent contact left the Infiniti with a front right puncture, forcing Sutton into the pitlane.
Although he was able to rejoin, the 18-time race-winner finished a lap down in 20th.
Free of success ballast and with the pendulum of the title battle swinging in the balance, the rear-wheel drive ace dug deep in the reverse grid encounter to produce another sensational performance.
Scything his way up the order either side of a lengthy safety car period, Sutton underlined his title credentials with a stellar performance behind the wheel to work his way up to fifth at the chequered flag.
As the UK’s elite motorsport series turns its attention to Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit, Sutton sits at the summit of the Drivers’ Championship, with nearest rival Dan Cammish seven points in arrears.
Sutton will be hoping to continue a successful run at the first circuit where he achieved a double win, to ensure he heads into the season finale in the strongest possible position.
“What a rollercoaster weekend!” Sutton said. “As much as it is good for everyone watching at home, and as much as I love the recovery drives, I’m making life very hard for myself.
“I was optimistic we would be strong heading to Croft and that was evident given the pace we had. Race one was unfortunate, but I managed to fight my way back and then race two was just one of those things. It’s a move that has paid off so many times but came back to bite us on this occasion.
“In hindsight, I should have just settled for a podium but that isn’t in my nature and that’s why I was able to claw it back in race three, going from 20th to fifth.
“Everyone at Laser Tools Racing and BMR Engineering has done a mega job, they gave me the car to go and do the job, and it all worked out in our favour in the end to somehow stay in the lead of the standings.”