SENSATIONAL SUTTON STRIKES AGAIN
NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton produced one of the finest performances of his illustrious BTCC career so far, as the three-time champion fought from 23rd on the grid to score an extraordinary victory in the second encounter at Silverstone.
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) looked to be cruising to a second victory of the day while Sutton and fellow title contender Tom Ingram (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8) were battling their way through the order, until a safety car intervention threw the contest wide open.
The BMW 330e M Sport of Hill seemed to slow following the restart and although able to continue he was quickly shuffled down the order, and potentially out of the championship fight.
Sutton and Ingram had fought their way into the top six by that point and neither were done there as they continued picking off the front-runners until the finish.
The final move from Sutton’s #116 Ford Focus came on the penultimate lap as he dived down the inside of leader Aron Taylor-Smith and into the lead through Woodcote, whilst Ingram had got by Rory Butcher (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK) for third.
With Sutton and Ingram starting the race 23rd and 22nd respectively, it was a true testament of their undoubted talent to see them reach the rostrum as their title battle intensifies towards an unmissable climax.
Sutton now leads Ingram by 47 points in the overall Drivers’ standings, with Hill hanging on to fading hopes with four races of the season remaining.
Team BMW’s Adam Morgan was fifth, ahead of Andrew Watson (CarStore Power Maxed Racing), Josh Cook (One Motorsport with Starline Racing) and Colin Turkington (Team BMW) – the latter having also surged through from the rear of the pack.
There was additional reason to celebrate for Cook as the Honda Civic Type R racer moved into an unassailable points lead in the Independents Drivers’ championship.
Dan Lloyd (Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils) and Dan Rowbottom (NAPA Racing UK) rounded out the top ten.
The final Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the day will take place at 1710 and will be screened LIVE on ITV4.
Ash Sutton said: “I’m speechless if I’m honest. I knew it was going to be tough and it fell in our favour with Jake [Hill] having that engine trouble by the looks of it. I’ve missed hybrid, it hurt here in qualifying but to get the full allocation – we haven’t had that since Round One so we made the most of it.
“Our plan was to utilise it for passing cars that we thought might be harder to overtake, and Aron [Taylor-Smith] was one of those and it just happened to be on the last lap for the win. I’m over the moon, we maximised everything, the car, the changes we made overnight were mega, so I can’t thank NAPA Racing UK enough for their effort.”
Aron Taylor-Smith said: “I think I made the front of ‘Almost Magazine’ with that one. If you had told me a podium and an Independent’s win was on the cards this weekend I would have bitten your hand off.
“The safety car scuppered my plans a little bit but Ash [Sutton] was flying – he’s obviously the man to beat realistically so putting it to him for the last bit was really enjoyable. I won’t forget it for a long time and it was nice to continue this run of good form, I’m over the moon.”
Tom Ingram said: “Yeah, that race was mental, probably very similar to Ash’s [Sutton] race. We just had to have the headlights on and we’re coming through. I love it when it’s like that – it’s so much fun. The first lap someone came in like a torpedo at Brooklands and I had to completely avoid the shunt and lost six to seven places to Ash it felt like. I was hoping towards the end there would be a little battle between ourselves which would have been great. It was really great to come back through and rescue the result out of what could have been nothing.
“The adrenaline is still going – its coursing through your veins. There’s so much energy, so much excitement and so much that could go right or wrong. Such a game of chess. There is so much risk – do you take it? When do you stick your nose in? Trying to avoid other people if they’re fighting for their own race, but it was great fun and the BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 car was feeling great so this is exciting – feeling fast and feeling good.”
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race Two – Silverstone
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 24 Laps
2. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +0.411s
3. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +1.405s
4. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +2.257s
5. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +2.578s
6. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +3.093s
7. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +3.774s
8. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +3.942s
9. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +4.659s
10. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +4.984s
11. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +5.269s
12. Michael Crees, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +12.789s
13. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +12.794s
14. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +12.952s
15. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +13.026s
16. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +13.096s
17. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +13.152s
18. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +13.300s
19. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +13.332s
20. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +13.550s
21. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +13.677s
22. Jade Edwards, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +15.539s
23. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +1 Lap
24. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +1 Lap
25. Jack Butel, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +1 Lap
26. Daryl DeLeon, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +3 Laps
27. Bobby Thompson, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +6 Laps