Silverstone was always going to be a struggle for the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing guys. This is their weakest track of the season. The car has shown phenomenal pace over the past few rounds allowing Ashley to maximise every opportunity. He hasn’t stepped off the podium since Oulton Park but that all changed at Silverstone after coming so close during race two. It’s no hidden secret that Subaru had their boost levels reduced prior to Silverstone, this all plays apart to it being their weakest circuit on the calendar. But when there are only four real corners which is followed by a very long straight, this means Ashley and the team can never have an overall gain. Anything that is gained in the tight and twisty sections is instantly lost once out on the straight.
Because of this Ashley didn’t have high hopes for qualifying and was aiming for a top 15 to try and keep himself in the points for when it comes to the races. There was also another adding factor to him having to dig real deep and that was 75kgs of success ballast, this was described as if someone had just pulled the handbrake up by ‘one click’. Come qualifying the only thing that was going to keep him in the game was a healthy slipstream. With the aim being to get inside the top 15, when the flag was finally waved and he lined up P10 with a car between him and his rival, he classed this as an over achievement.
Race one was all about matching his main rival Turkington who gridded up just in front of him in P8. This was a real tricky race with a mix of weather conditions and a drying track. When the lights went out Ashley didn’t quite get the start he was after due to being on the wet side of the circuit. A few laps in and it started to rain at a few points of the circuit. Places were swapping and changing, one minute there was five cars between Ash and his rival then the next lap it was one. There was a safety car deployed after a huge impact between Rob Collard and Will Burns down at beckets, just before the safety car boards and yellow flags where shown Ashley made a move on Ant Whorton-Ealse for 5th place directly behind Turkington in 4th. This meant he only lost out by 2pts.
Heading into Race two Ashley saw this as an opportunity to regain back the 2pts that he had previously lost. The reason for this was Turkington was now on the Option Hard Tyre. We know this wasn’t going to be as strong as the Standard compound. After a great start Ashley managed to nip up into fourth getting past Adam Morgan but soon lost that again at the final corner on the opening lap. For the next half of the race Ashley was stuck in 5th watching his rival pull away catching 2nd. With a dozen of laps left he managed to nip through and gain 4th, the hunt was now on to catch back up to Turkington. On the last lap of the race Ashley made a good solid move around the outside of Turkington at brooks so he had the inside for the final corner, well that’s what he thought until he was run off the circuit by Turkington which then lead to contact at the entry to the final corner. Finishing third on track but fourth on the sheets was due to an appeal put against Ashley by WSR and Colin Turkington meaning they had reversed the finishing positions, giving Ashley his third strike of the season he had to start at the back of the grid for race three.
Race three was one of the toughest positions Ashley had been put in all season. He still stands by the move that was pulled off and classes it as a fair move, but has accepted to move on and fight another day. It was a long way forward from the back of the grid, but this is what Ashley loves best, racing! Trying to score any points what so ever to counter act what Turkington was going to be score was the real aim here, to try and get inside the top 15. By the end of the opening lap it came to Ash’s surprise that Turkington was only five cars ahead of him after a spin into Brooklands. By the end of the third lap Turkington was heading for the pit-lane after being caught up in an accident at the end of the second lap. This meant Ashley could now relax and focus a little bit more on moving forward. It was a great charge from the back of the grid coming across the line in P11 managing to actually gain points back in the championship standings and opening his margin back up to a two-digit number of 10.