COMMANDING WIN FOR SUTTON IN THRUXTON OPENER
Ash Sutton secured a routine lights-to-flag triumph in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship opener at Thruxton, as the NAPA Racing UK star kept Tom Ingram and Josh Cook at arm’s length throughout the contest.
One Motorsport with Starline Racing’s Cook clocked the fastest lap early on with the fight for second threatening to ignite at different stages of the race, but in truth the top three places were never in doubt around the UK’s fastest circuit.
Jake Hill blasted his BMW past CarStore Power Maxed Racing’s Mikey Doble off the line and briefly ran side-by-side with Cook on the opening tour, before the Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport man settled into fourth until the finish.
NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Cammish was the biggest mover in the order as he came from ninth on the grid to claim fifth, although team-mate Dan Rowbottom wasn’t so lucky as a late race puncture halted his charge.
Team BMW’s Turkington maintained position with sixth, whilst Rory Butcher (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK) performed well to grab seventh.
Doble eventually had to settle for eighth but he raced brilliantly as part of a five-car train in closing laps, whilst Aron Taylor-Smith (CarStore Power Maxed Racing) and Bobby Thompson (Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils) rounded out the top ten.
The podium celebrations, however, belonged to Sutton with BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8’s Ingram in second and Thruxton specialist Cook in third.
A huge crowd is enjoying the racing at a gloriously sunny Thruxton, whilst many more watch the action on ITV4. Race two will take place at 1435 with the finale commencing at 1720.
Ash Sutton said: “I just had to maximise the beginning as we’ve been strong there for the past few races. I was hoping there might be a bit more squabbling behind, but Tom [Ingram] hung in there and Cook was closing the gap to him and that gave me the space we needed. Looking after that tyre is a challenge around here. The car is good, very good, but these tyres do take a beating.
“I want to make a few changes for race two. The other guys will move forward and we need to be doing the same. We can’t stay still, it’s always evolving.”
Tom Ingram said: “We seem to be just hanging onto Ash [Sutton] at the moment now. We seem to just be following him around – which I’m not okay with, but I’ll take the points nonetheless. We have just got to make sure that we are up there because at the moment it feels like we’ve got to be there to capitalise on when the NAPA boys trip-up. But it’s good, we’re pointsy and staying towards the front.
“There will always be bits and pieces you can improve. This place is so niche that the set-up that you use here changes by the day, it changes by the wind direction, the sun, the shadows, the moon! We’ll make some tweaks of course, and see if we can catch these guys!”
Josh Cook said: “I thought perhaps we found what was making the car so different to drive, but I don’t think we have and we’ll need to just keep looking at it. Of course, I’m really, really happy for a podium and for a P3. We’ll take it, especially with how the car was driving in the race.
“It’s frustrating because we want to be fighting for wins and if there is somewhere where we normally can, it’s here. We just need to keep chipping away – it’s a long day with another two races. Hopefully we can try get up to the top step at some point.”
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Thruxton
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 16 laps
2. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +2.513s
3. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +4.086s
4. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +8.506s
5. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +10.753s
6. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +11.128s
7. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +21.941s
8. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +26.971s
9. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +27.698s
10. Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +27.698s
11. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +28.265s
12. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +30.099s
13. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +30.195s
14. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +30.505s
15. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +31.563s
16. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +31.715s
17. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +32.496s
18. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +32.685s
19. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +41.646s
20. Will Powell, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +43.861s
21. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +44.569s
22. Nic Hamilton, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +55.279s
23. Jade Edwards, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +1:03.225s
24. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +1:17.169s
25. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +3 Laps
26. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +5 Laps
27. Jack Butel, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +6 Laps