ASH SUTTON CHARGES TO FAMOUS KNOCKHILL WIN TO FURTHER EXTEND POINTS LEAD
Ash Sutton produced a thrilling performance at Knockhill this past weekend (August 12/13) to extend his advantage at the top of the Championship standings to 37 points.
On what proved to be a wet and wild trip north of the border, the NAPA Racing UK driver splashed his way to an eighth win of the season in the reverse grid bout after previously starting on slick tyres in Race One and putting pressure on Jake Hill to clinch second place in Race Two.
Arriving at the Scottish circuit holding a slender six-point lead over Tom Ingram, the three-time champion endured a frenetic weekend and a race day that will live long in our memories.
The 29-year-old was focused when it came to qualifying on Saturday as he chalked up his fourth pole position of the year, maintaining NAPA Racing UK’s unbeaten run in the process.
Sunday’s opening contest will undoubtedly go down as a modern-day classic. Starting on slick tyres, he played his part in a captivating duel with Josh Cook in the opening exchanges before heavy rain began to fall.
With conditions worsening, a majority of the field headed for the pit lane for wet tyres but Sutton remained out front on slicks. After a brief safety car period the series leader pitted and rejoined the fray to finish sixth.
The weekend’s second encounter – held in the dry – saw Sutton come close to victory as he shadowed Jake Hill all the way to the chequered flag. Wasting no time in progressing up to second from the third row of the grid.
Once onto the back of the BMW, Sutton made a number of minor attacks but he ultimately never came close enough to making a move for the lead; leaving him to settle for second.
Race Three was a great success for Sutton as he navigated the wet weather to win by almost ten seconds. Starting sixth, he scythed his way through to second before setting off after leader Ronan Pearson.
After closing in on the Hyundai driver, Sutton made a pass for the lead and from there he charged off into the spray, extending the gap to Cook who finished second.
Ashley Sutton (NAPA Racing UK): “I think that weekend sums up the BTCC perfectly; it’s unpredictable and you never quite know what is going to happen next! To come away with another win and having extended the lead in the championship is phenomenal – but there is still a long way to go.
“Sitting on the grid before race three – with the rain coming down – I knew there was the chance to take a win; I’m over the moon we managed to hook it all up. The car was on absolute rails and that’s down to everyone’s hard work at NAPA Racing UK!
“This is the biggest points lead I’ve ever had in the BTCC and while it’s nice, I’m not going to get too excited just yet. There is plenty of racing still to come and as we’ve seen, anything can happen. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and aim to hit the ground running at Donington Park.”
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will continue in less than two weeks’ time on August 26/27 as the series heads back to Donington Park – this time on the Grand Prix circuit – for Rounds 22, 23 & 24.