Sutton celebrates sixth win of the season
Rowbottom also triumphs at a scorching Thruxton Circuit
Ash Sutton claimed his fifth and sixth race victories of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton earlier today (4 June), as the NAPA Racing UK star extended his advantage in the overall Drivers’ standings.
The final reverse grid race was won by team-mate Dan Rowbottom to complete a fantastic day for the Ford Focus squad at the UK’s fastest circuit, which welcomed a huge crowd basked in glorious sunshine throughout the weekend.
Tom Ingram and Josh Cook completed the podium positions in each of the first two races, before Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffat claimed silverware in the finale.
Sutton now holds a 14-point lead in his quest to win a record-equalling fourth BTCC title, whilst Ingram and Colin Turkington maintained second and third in the standings respectively.
The BTCC now moves on to Oulton Park in Cheshire in two weeks’ time (17/18 June).
Commanding win for Sutton in Thruxton opener
Sutton secured a routine lights-to-flag triumph in the opener at the Hampshire venue, as the NAPA Racing UK star kept both Ingram (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8) and Cook (One Motorsport with Starline Racing) at arm’s length throughout the contest.
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.
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 Rowbottom wasn’t so lucky as a late race puncture halted his charge.
Six of the best for Sutton
Sutton then completed a double race victory for the third consecutive Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship weekend, as the three-time champ continued his imperious form.
Having already bagged a brace at both Brands Hatch and Snetterton, Sutton controlled proceedings in the first two contests at Thruxton to record his sixth success of the campaign.
Sutton pulled a gap of nearly a second on the opening lap as the likes of Ingram, Cook and Hill squabbled behind for second.
An almost carbon copy getaway to the opening bout saw Cook and Hill run side-by-side going into the Complex for the first time, with Ingram’s car also getting slightly tagged in the tussle.
When the dust settled it was the same quintet at the top of the order with the gaps between them remaining relatively stable until the finish.
Sutton secured the victory by 2.234s from Ingram, Cook and Hill, with Cammish again coming home in fifth.
Rowbottom romps to race three win
Kidderminster driver Rowbottom then rounded off an incredible weekend for NAPA Racing UK as he won the reverse grid race – his second BTCC career victory.
Pole-sitter Morgan made a stellar getaway and immediately pulled away from the chasing pack, as Moffat (One Motorsport with Starline Racing) initially proved to be the cork in the bottle with a gaggle of cars bulked up behind him.
Team BMW’s Morgan scurried off into the distance, whilst Rowbottom was busy making progress from fifth on the grid and up to third.
On lap five, Rowbottom’s Ford Focus dispatched of Moffat’s Honda Civic Type R through the Complex and he took six tenths of a second out of Morgan’s advantage on the very next lap.
The gap kept shrinking and Rowbottom eventually made his move down the inside of Morgan’s #33 BMW 330e M Sport before the cars reached Church on lap ten.
It was a great comeback throughout the day from Rowbottom, which had begun with disappointment in race one.
Morgan held on to second whilst Moffat defended valiantly to fend off Team BMW’s Turkington to complete the podium.
The Motorbase-Ford/NAPA Racing UK outfit top both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ standings, whilst Josh Cook and his One Motorsport with Starline Racing lead the Independents’ tables.
Dexter Patterson is the new Jack Sears Trophy leader after a solid weekend, whilst Sutton heads the Goodyear Wingfoot Award as the top qualifier so far this season.
Ash Sutton, NAPA Racing UK, said: “Making history – I just can’t thank the team enough. The car is just phenomenal and is just a joy to drive. It’s so rare you get this; I can’t thank the boys and girls enough at Motorbase. It’s just mega.
“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.”
Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK, said: “I made up places at the start and then it was a good battle with Aiden [Moffat]. Aiden put up a great challenge, but our car was fantastic and so once we got clear and into second I set about chasing Adam [Morgan] down. I didn’t plan to make the move into Church, but it was a great feeling to take the win.
“The team have been brilliant all week – Ash [Sutton] won the first two races and we’ve won the third. I did not feel as positive at the end of Race 1 after the issue we had – I wondered if the weekend was finished – so to come back from that and show the pace that we had in Race 2 and in Race 3 is a great feeling. It’s a fantastic end to the day.”
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
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Thruxton
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 16 laps
2. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +2.234s
3. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +6.330s
4. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +8.730s
5. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +9.580s
6. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +15.734s
7. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +17.003s
8. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +17.411s
9. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +19.834s
10. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +23.723s
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Thruxton
1. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK 16 Laps
2. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +2.733s
3. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +3.786s
4. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +4.022s
5. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +4.559s
6. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +5.054s
7. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +6.347s
8. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +6.985s
9. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +7.608s
10. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +7.814s
Ricky Collard (car no. 37) has received a formal reprimand for excessive weaving on the way to the grid for race three.