Race one win secures Sutton’s charge to title
Ash Sutton took a lights-to-flag victory in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship contest at Brands Hatch GP, as the NAPA Racing UK star moved into an unassailable lead in the race for the title.
“It feels phenomenal, I don’t know what to say, I genuinely don’t know what to say,” said Sutton. “I can’t thank NAPA Racing UK enough and everyone that’s involved. Four-time BTCC champion… come on!
“I felt like a puncture was coming on at the end, I could hear a lot of tyre noise coming so I had to play it safe. But the car hung in at the end and I think we’ve done the best job possible this weekend and I just can’t thank everyone enough.
“That would be mega (winning the next two races) but I’ll take whatever comes to me now I’ve got what I wanted.”
It was a fitting race win for the undisputed star of the 2023 BTCC season, and equally fitting that he was chased home all the way by his main championship challenger – Tom Ingram.
“Ash [Sutton] and I have a huge amount of respect for each other,” confirmed Ingram. “We both want to beat each other more than anything else – of course we do – but I think there is a lot of respect there on-track as well, which is a really nice place to be!
“Ash has been phenomenal this year, I don’t think we have ever seen anything like it before and hopefully he can stop it now and it is out of his system!
“But a good result for us too and full credit to Ash – this will be a really special one.”
The BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 man kept Sutton honest throughout the race and had one final attack at victory following a late safety car period, but it remained unchanged until the finish as wild celebrations ensued in the NAPA Racing UK garage.
Huge celebrations also took place at Team HARD as Essex man Bobby Thompson grabbed a fantastic podium for Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown, with his friends, family and even his neighbours cat in attendance!
“It’s amazing to have got this at my home track – I think I have my neighbours cat here! Everyone from Essex is here!” said a delighted Thompson.
“Good to get that result in race one and not in a reverse grid – i’ll take one in a reverse grid, but to do it in race one or two really shows you have the pace to be here. To be alongside these names shows that we have made this Cupra fast. Now we have a couple more chances to get it done again!”
All four BMWs were inside the top ten, with Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Stephen Jelley and Adam Morgan finishing fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth respectively.
Dan Cammish and Dan Rowbottom joined in the NAPA Racing UK celebrations with fifth and seventh, whilst Ricky Collard provided some respite for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK with ninth.
All the action throughout the day is now live via ITV4 with the second BTCC race due to commence at 1440.
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Brands Hatch GP
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 18 Laps
2. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +0.603s
3. Bobby Thompson, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +2.236s
4. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +2.993s
5. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +4.569s
6. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +4.839s
7. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +6.428s
8. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +6.617s
9. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +6.783s
10. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +7.263s
11. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +8.350s
12. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +8.537s
13. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +8.550s
14. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +9.118s
15. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +9.118s
16. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +10.657s
17. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +11.059s
18. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +11.207s
19. Jade Edwards, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +12.681s
20. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +13.493s
21. Daryl DeLeon, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +15.467s
22. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +16.939s
23. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +1 Lap
24. Michael Crees, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +1 Lap
25. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +4 Laps
25. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +7 Laps
27. James Gornall, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown DNF