RACE TWO WINNER SUTTON… “IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK”
NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton kept reigning champion Tom Ingram at bay to win his first Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the season.
The 1.21-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit – notoriously tight and challenging for all drivers – provided battles throughout the order, but it was Sutton who commanded proceedings from the outset.
Sutton snatched the lead from pole-sitter Colin Turkington on the opening tour, but it was the fast starting Ingram that was making waves behind.
The BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 driver was soon into third – from fifth on the grid – and he diced by Team BMW’s Turkington on the run through Surtees for the first time.
The top three positions remained unchanged until the finish, albeit with Ingram keeping Sutton honest throughout, but there was a late change for fourth between Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) and Dan Cammish (NAPA Racing UK).
Hill – with more Hybrid deployment still available – squeezed his BMW 330e Sport past Cammish’s Ford on the run to Druids on lap 15, as the Kent man secured valuable points in an otherwise quiet contest.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK’s Rory Butcher grabbed sixth ahead of a monumental battle for seventh that went to the wire.
Sam Osborne has been rapidly growing in speed during the weekend but the NAPA Racing UK Ford made contact with Ricky Collard’s Toyota Corolla at the final corner enabling a scramble for position.
When the dust settled it was One Motorsport with Starline Racing’s Josh Cook taking the spot from Osborne, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK’s George Gamble and a relegated Collard that completed the top ten positions.
Ash Sutton said: “It’s good to be back! The car was nice in Race 1 but that was mega. We made a handful of changes between Race 1 and 2 and the car was just leaps and bounds, miles better. We were just managing the tyre, managing the gap. Tom [Ingram] got close at one point and a few little sweats came out but it was a case of just knuckling down. We knew we had the tyre at the end and had to use that. I’m just over the moon – the car was mega!
“I knew I had to pounce early to get Colin [Turkington], over the curve at Turn 1 – what better place to do it. So I got under him and from that point onwards had my eye on the checkered flag.”
Tom Ingram said: “From the first lap I realised, oh wow we are in the mix here! I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better really. Once I got into the race I could kind of see where I was quicker than Ash [Sutton] and where Ash was quicker than me, so we sort of just played the game. Ash had a little bit in the bank, I had a little bit also, and neither of us wanted to give it all too soon. It was a bit of cat and mouse I think really.
“I started to use some of my hybrid to try and just close the gap a little bit and then being honest, once we got into those last five lap window where I knew ash was going to be deploying every lap, I was more focused on just bringing it home. Credit to these guys they did a great job. For us as BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 it was a great job. It was a pointsy race, I said I wanted a pointsy race and that’s exactly what it was!”
Colin Turkington said: “I don’t think I’m going to catch Jason [Plato] on wins! But it was still a good finish, big difference for me going back on the medium tyre compared to the soft. Lap 1 it was day and night difference, the two guys had done me by the time we got halfway round the lap. So the same story, just waiting on the front axel to warm up – even when it did I couldn’t live up with the pace of Tom [Ingram] and Ash [Sutton], they were almost in their own race. But I seemed to be in my own race too as nobody was behind!
“We’ve got some good information for Race 3 now – I’ll be on the medium again. But I only had half the hybrid allocation as I has in Race 1 and that’s making a difference, which it’s supposed to do. Still a really good finish on the podium.”
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Brands Hatch Indy
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 24 Laps
2. Tom Ingram , BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +0.933s
3. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +3.405s
4. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +6.859s
5. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +10.598s
6. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +12.383s
7. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +13.912s
8. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +14.238s
9. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +14.350s
10. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +14.668s
11. Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +15.087s
12. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +16.152s
13. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +16.659s
14. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +22.151s
15. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +22.994s
16. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +23.277s
17. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +27.380s
18. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +28.468s
19. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +30.295s
20. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +34.698s
21. Will Powell, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +35.675s
22. Jade Edwards, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +36.648s
23. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +50.101s
24. Jack Butel, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +2 Laps
25. Nic Hamilton, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +2 Laps
26. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +7 Laps
27. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW DNS