Sutton surges to sixth win of the season
Subaru star Ash Sutton has extended his lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship standings after securing a sixth race win of the season.
Having taken a one-two finish in the Rockingham opener it was Sutton cruising around the outside of his Adrian Flux Subaru Racing team-mate James Cole at the beginning of the next contest. Cole was also run out wide onto the grass later in the same lap and he would eventually be shuffled way down the order.
Sutton took command and even calmly dealt with a brief safety car period following an accident for reigning champion Gordon Shedden.
Josh Cook’s MG and Mat Jackson’s Ford made contact on lap eight, but the MG6 would face an even stiffer contest one tour later. Cook got tangled with Matt Neal’s Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda and both cars were fired off onto the grass at Deene Hairpin.
With those two now out of contention there was yet more incidents down the order when Matt Simpson’s Honda was tipped into the barrier following a tag from Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo’s Rory Butcher.
When the dust literally settled it was Jack Goff still clinging on to second place but he was soon to get shuffled back by Jackson and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington. Those two would go on to have a frenetic battle to the finish with Jackson claiming second place by the smallest of margins.
Jason Plato demoted Goff’s fading Eurotech Honda down a further place late in the race, whilst Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan made a number of eye catching moves to round out the top six.
BMW duo Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard were inseparable for much of the race, and the former was further rewarded for fending off his experienced stablemate by taking the reverse grid pole position for today’s final encounter.
Fantastic performances from Chris Smiley and Tom Ingram completed the top ten order, as both stormed through the field. BTC Norlin Racing’s Smiley made most of his progress early on as the Chevrolet Cruze carved its way from 20th on the grid to ninth. If that wasn’t impressive enough, then Ingram’s progress from 32nd on the grid was nothing short of phenomenal. The Toyota man made move after move to get inside the top ten, but Smiley impressively prevented the Speedworks Motorsport driver from making any further inroads.
Ashley Sutton said: “We definitely found something with the car at the start, but it faded away. I had to keep an eye on the time between myself and Mat (Jackson) as the car was moving around a little towards the end – it wasn’t the same. It’s a lot hotter than we’ve been used to recently so maybe we just overworked the tyres from halfway onwards. Luckily though, we had the gap from the start. We were told we could race. I had a very poor start again, which is something I’ve got to work on. I just did my normal living on the edge around the outside stuff. It worked that time. There were no pre-discussions.”
Mat Jackson said: “Ash (Sutton) was really playing the game. There was a lot more pace in there. You’ve got rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive, and it is what it is. It was entertaining. Josh (Cook) went into the hairpin wide and came through it. We made contact and that’s fine, but to drive you off in the manner he did, that isn’t racing. Colin (Turkington) is a fighter. He’s fighting for points and he would he would be trying everything. It’s all about corner exit in the battle between RWD and FWD. He kept it clean, and it was a good race.”
Colin Turkington said: “You’re fighting instinct is to pass the next guy and get the bigger trophy but it’s about risk management at this stage of the season. I was really surprised again with the pace of the BMW on the hard tyre, Mat (Jackson) was some way up the road but we were so strong at the end. I wasn’t expecting a podium but we’ll take that. I was sandwiched between James (Cole) and Jason (Plato) and it would have been easy to have been moved aside. I had to be patient and protect my line. I could see where James was struggling and as soon as he made the slip, I pounced.”
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 23 – Rockingham
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 18 laps
2 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +2.438s
3 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +2.730s
4 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +7.110s
5 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +9.513s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +10.101s
7 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +10.569s
8 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +10.756s
9 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +14.802s
10 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +15.349s
11 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +15.913s
12 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +18.138s
13 James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +18.466s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +19.262s
15 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +20.029s
16 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +20.261s
17 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +21.624s
18 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +22.278s
19 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +23.389s
20 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +24.479s
21 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +29.679s
22 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +30.884s
23 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +31.330s
24 Brett SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +35.011s
25 Stewart LINES (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +43.605s
26 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +1 lap
DNF Michael EPPS (GBR) TAG Racing +3 laps
DNF Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +5 laps
DNF Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +7 laps
DNF Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +9 laps
DNF Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +16 laps
DNF Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +17 laps