Ashley Sutton marks milestone BTCC weekend with Thruxton victory

Ashley Sutton moved to within six points of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship summit at Thruxton this past weekend (August 27/28) as he charged to his third win of the season.

On what was a milestone weekend for the NAPA Racing UK driver, Ashley marked his 200th race start in the series with a memorable victory whilst he also scored a third and fifth place finish in the other two contests.

Those results have now elevated the reigning champion up to second in the championship standings with just two events and six races remaining.

Showing strong pace throughout Saturday’s two practice sessions, the 28-year-old punched in a superlative lap during qualifying later that afternoon to secure fourth on the grid for the first of Sunday’s three contests around the fastest circuit in the UK.

The Ford Focus ST driver had looked on course to start even higher after setting the fastest middle sector of anyone in the closing stages before a high-speed spin exiting Church Corner put pay to that.

Race one proved to be a lively affair as the three-time title winner claimed a hard-fought third place finish. Contact on the opening lap between Ashley, Jake Hill and Josh Cook through the Complex had everyone on the edge of their seats but once the dust had settled it was Ashley that came out on top.

Slightly hobbled by the aforementioned contact, the BRDC Member held station for the remainder of the 16-lap contest to clinch his 60th career podium finish in the UK’s premier motor sport series.

Race two marked Ashley’s 200th start in the BTCC and he celebrated the occasion in style by claiming his third victory of the year, leading a maiden one-two finish for NAPA Racing UK.

Making a lightening start, Ashley slotted into second as the field streamed into the Complex on the opening lap and then proceeded to settle into a groove as he shadowed team-mate Dan Cammish.

With two laps to go and the Drivers’ title on the line, the Motorbase-run team elected to swap the positions. Exiting Allard, Cammish eased off the throttle to allow Ashley through to pass and ultimately go on to take victory as well as a maximum points haul.

Starting the reverse grid encounter from 11th, Ashley signed off his weekend with another superb drive as he charged to fifth place. Much of the hard work was done during the opening three laps by the front-wheel-drive ace as he made up six positions in rapid succession.

Despite launching an attack on Rory Butcher for fourth at mid-distance, the former Independent and Jack Sears Trophy champion elected to settle for a top five finish, bringing the curtain down on yet another sensational showing.

Ashley Sutton:
“It’s been a massive weekend for us and I’d say we’ve probably exceeded our own expectations a little bit. We’ve picked up a win, third and fifth and closed to within six points of the championship lead so it’s a job well done by everybody at NAPA Racing UK!

“Race one was a bit chaotic at the start but once we got through first lap I was able to crack on and bring it home. Then to lead home a first-ever one-two finish for the team was amazing; I’ve got to say a massive thank you to Dan [Cammish] because he was the ultimate team player.

“I’d managed to back Gordon [Shedden] and Jake [Hill] into each other so when they started squabbling I thought ‘right let’s crack on’ and then the call came to switch positions. For that win to come in my 200th race was special too – that’s a nice little milestone to tick off.

“Silverstone is going to be a completely different challenge next but I’m confident we can be in the mix; the car is feeling awesome so we’ve just got to keep this momentum we seem to have going. We’re getting down to the real fight now and I’m relishing what lies ahead, it’s game on!”

The penultimate event of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will see Rounds 25, 26 & 27 play out around the Home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone, on September 24/25.

Chris Ashby
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