ASH SUTTON STORMS TO RACE THREE VICTORY
Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton sped to victory in the final Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Donington Park.
The 2017 champion has been in the thick of the action throughout the weekend with a stellar qualifying performance, fastest race laps and fight back drives, culminating in a magnificent win in the finale.
From eighth on the grid, Sutton scythed his way through to fourth in the early running and was then part of an enthralling four-way battle for the lead, which also included Ollie Jackson, Chris Smiley and Josh Cook.
The Motorbase Performance Ford of Jackson led the opening laps but was eventually passed by the impressive Smiley in the all-new Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai. That moment brought about a domino effect as Sutton soon jumped two spots and into second, with Cook’s BTC Racing Honda tucked in behind.
It was a matter of when, not if, and shortly after mid-distance young charger Sutton blasted by Smiley along the Dunlop Straight.
Sutton sailed away with the win in the closing laps, whilst Smiley crossed the finish line just 0.276s ahead of Cook. Sutton’s victory was the first for the Infiniti Q50 and Smiley’s podium was the first podium for the striking Hyundai i30 N.
It was a wonderful way to end an incredible day of racing as the BTCC made its long-awaited return following a gap of some of 294 days since last year’s final race weekend.
The Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes of Adam Morgan was in striking distance throughout the 17-lap contest but had to settle for fourth, ahead of early leader Jackson.
A number of significant likely championship challengers settled for points in the final Donington bout with Tom Ingram (Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters), Dan Cammish (Halfords Yuasa Racing), Matt Neal (Halfords Yuasa Racing), Tom Oliphant (Team BMW) and Colin Turkington (Team BMW) completing the top ten positions.
Ash Sutton said: “This is just what we needed. The car gives me a hell of a lot of confidence and it’s allowing me to do these things. We made a couple of little tweaks for that race the bits we were missing that I mentioned in qualifying and we definitely solved them then. I’m over the moon with that.
As long as we can keep this momentum going, I know I’ve got the best team behind me with Laser Tools Racing and BMR Engineering. I couldn’t ask for a better outfit. The car is absolutely phenomenal. I feel at home in it, it’s the best I’ve ever felt in a car so we’re ticking a lot of boxes here, we just need that little luck at the end and we’ll be sailing.”
Chris Smiley said: “It’s a dream come true really. To turn up here with a brand new car and a brand new team of guys around me and to come away with a second place and really be on the money. It was one of those drives you remember as it was inch-perfect the whole race, apart from the start really, I let myself down at the start. I just haven’t figured out how to get the Hyundai off the line but a big thanks to Excelr8.
Ash has been on fire all day. I didn’t make his life too hard, I knew with the pace there was no point in getting involved in a battle with him, I was guaranteed second place so I let him go. I had a good battle with Josh which I really enjoyed, so it’s been a good day for both me and Excelr8, and the all-new Hyundai i30 N BTCC car.”
Josh Cook said: “Obviously it’s good to end the day with a podium for the team; they’ve worked really hard over the winter. You can’t help but feel disappointed when you feel you had the pace to do a little bit more but it’s one of those things. Donington’s been really good for me in the past but I’m really happy to finish with a podium, it’s important for us because we’ve had a tough day so far.
“Ash was on it, so there wasn’t really a lot of point battling with him. I was hoping that as soon as he got through I’d be able to challenge Chris, but the guys at Excelr8 have done a really good job with that car. Credit to them, they fully deserve that podium and obviously well done to Ash for the win and I’m really pleased that we got some silverware because like I say our team deserve it. Today it wasn’t meant to be, but in the championship you’ve just got to pick up the points where you can and live to fight another day.”
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Donington Park
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing 17 laps
2 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.280s
3 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +2.556s
4 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +3.524s
5 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +4.890s
6 Tom INGRAM (GBR ) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +5.161s
7 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +6.247s
8 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +7.112s
9 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +7.629s
10 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +7.993s
11 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +12.317s
12 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +14.635s
13 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +17.127s
14 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) HUB Financial Solutions with Team HARD +17.239s
15 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +21.984s
16 James GORNALL (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +22.478s
17 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +26.247s
18 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +26.512s
19 Andy NEATE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +31.712s
20 Jack BUTEL (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +43.719s
21 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Team HARD +46.015s
22 Ollie BROWN (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Team HARD +1 lap
23 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1 lap
24 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +3 laps
25 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +7 laps
26 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +13 laps