SUTTON ‘RELISHING WHAT LIES AHEAD’ AFTER TRIUMPHANT THRUXTON
A trio of top-five finishes including a third victory of the campaign during his milestone weekend saw NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton move to within six points of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship summit during Thruxton’s rounds of the campaign last month (27/28 August).
Kicking off the weekend in which he would contest his 200th BTCC race with impressive pace in the opening free practice sessions, Sutton went on to secure fourth on the grid for the first of three encounters around the fastest circuit in the UK.
Race one proved to be a lively affair as the three-time title winner claimed a hard-fought third-place finish. Contact on the opening lap between Sutton, Jake Hill and Josh Cook through the Complex had everyone on the edge of their seats, but once the dust had settled it was the #1 machine that came out on top.
Slightly hobbled by the aforementioned contact, the BRDC Member held station for the remainder of the 16-lap contest to clinch his 60th career podium finish in the UK’s premier motorsport series.
Race two marked Sutton’s 200th start in the BTCC and he celebrated the occasion in style by claiming his third victory of the year, leading a maiden one-two finish for NAPA Racing UK.
Making a lightning start, the 28-year-old slotted into second as the field streamed into the Complex on the opening lap and then proceeded to settle into a groove as he shadowed team-mate Dan Cammish.
With two laps to go and the Drivers’ title on the line, the Motorbase-run team elected to swap the positions. Exiting Allard, Cammish eased off the throttle to allow Sutton through to ultimately take victory as well as a maximum points haul.
Starting the reverse grid encounter from 11th, Sutton signed off his weekend with another superb drive as he charged to fifth place. Much of the hard work was done during the opening three laps by the Ford Focus driver as he made up six positions in rapid succession.
Despite launching an attack on Rory Butcher for fourth at mid-distance, the former Independent Drivers’ Champion elected to settle for a top-five finish, bringing the curtain down on yet another spectacular weekend.
“It’s been a massive weekend for us, and I’d say we’ve probably exceeded our own expectations a little bit,” said Sutton. “We’ve picked up a win, third and fifth and closed to within six points of the championship lead so it’s a job well done by everybody at NAPA Racing UK!
“Once we got through the first lap [of race one] I was able to crack on and bring it home. Then to lead home a first-ever one-two finish for the team was amazing; I’ve got to say a massive thank you to Dan [Cammish] because he was the ultimate team player.
“I’d managed to back Gordon [Shedden] and Jake [Hill] into each other so when they started squabbling, I thought ‘right let’s crack on’ and then the call came to switch positions. For that win to come in my 200th race was special too – that’s a nice little milestone to tick off.
“Silverstone is going to be a completely different challenge next but I’m confident we can be in the mix; the car is feeling awesome, so we’ve just got to keep this momentum we seem to have going. We’re getting down to the real fight now and I’m relishing what lies ahead, it’s game on!”