‘SOLID HAUL OF POINTS’ FOR DEFENDING CHAMPION
Kicking off the Hybrid era in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park (23/24 April), NAPA Racing UK driver Ash Sutton – who is racing to win a record-equaling fourth crown in 2022 – picked up a fourth and sixth-place finish before powering his way to the podium in round three.
In what was an historic contest, as the BTCC raced with hybrid power for the first time, the three-time champion was in the midst of a six-way battle for the race lead in round one, eventually crossing the line in fifth place although a post-race penalty for Jake Hill left Sutton narrowly missing the podium in fourth.
The second round of the weekend saw the defending champion charge his Ford Focus ST to sixth following a wheel-to-wheel battle with former team-mate Josh Cook, maintaining the position until the checkered flag.
The Hertfordshire driver started the final race of the day strongly, with an early overtake past Dan Lloyd on lap two, ending the weekend positively having gained his first podium in the 2022 BTCC Hybrid era.
At the end of the season-opening weekend, Sutton sits third in the BTCC Drivers’ Championship, a mere 11 points shy of the summit.
“It’s good to end the weekend on the podium but obviously we are never going to be completely happy until we’re standing on that top step,” said Sutton. “It’s been a learning curve but the positive is that we come away from Donington having made some real improvements – especially in that last race.
“Our one-lap pace was phenomenal but it was the race pace where we were having to play catch up in a few areas. We made a lot of changes throughout the day and in race three that was the best the car had been, so it’s encouraging to know we’re heading in the right direction.
“In terms of the hybrid, I really enjoyed using it. We’ve got another element to think about and it adds more strategy into the races, which is mega, and I think it is only going to add to the on-track action as we continue to get our heads around it.
“We’ve got a solid haul of points on the board and valuable data, which we can now dig into that to see what we can do to unlock a bit more for when we get to Brands Hatch.”