Ashley Sutton scorches to victory at Snetterton

Ashley Sutton maintained his pursuit of a fourth Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship title at Snetterton this past weekend (August 13/14) with a superb victory in the reverse grid contest.

Coming off the back of clinching a maiden triumph for NAPA Racing UK at Knockhill, the reigning champion made it two wins in as many race weekends as he converted pole position into a commanding light-to-flag run in red-hot conditions.

That result, along with two ninth place drives earlier in the day, now leaves the 28-year-old sitting fourth in the points as the series heads towards the home stretch of the season.

Qualifying on Saturday saw Ashley hustle his Ford Focus ST to its absolute limits in the sweltering temperatures, with 11th on the grid being the best he could ultimately manage.

After making a number of set-up changes overnight, the BRDC Member began his march towards the front with a measured drive to ninth in race one following an entertaining multi-car scrap and drag race to the chequered flag with Dan Rowbottom.

Race two would see the three-time title winner in the thick of the action as he fought back from a bruising opening lap, where contact had sent him tumbling down the order. Pulling off a number of impressive moves, the Motorbase Performance driver recovered back to ninth.

That drive would ultimately prove pivotal in shaping the remainder of his day as he was drawn onto pole position for the third and final race of the weekend.

Bogging down as the lights went out, Ashley initially lost the lead to Rowbottom on the run to Riches however it wasn’t long before he was back in front. Capitalising on a small mistake at Agostini, the front-wheel-drive ace reclaimed top spot and soon pulled clear.

Maintaining a gap to former team-mate Jason Plato in the early going, Ashley soon began to punch in quick laps to pull clear and clinch his 26th career victory by more than four seconds.

With three events and nine races now remaining in the 2022 season, Ashley sits fourth in the BTCC Drivers’ Championship.

Ashley Sutton: “It’s been a mega weekend! We’ve turned things around and come away with a second win of the season; I’m really happy. Huge credit has to go to everyone at NAPA Racing UK and Motorbase Performance as they did a great job.

“The temperatures made it hard going and Saturday was pretty tough as the car just wasn’t in the window we wanted it to be. We made some changes overnight and it came alive, it was on rails. Ninth in race one was solid and had we not had contact things might have been different in race two.

“I fluffed the start a little bit in race three and that’s how Dan got the jump on me but I was able to get him back a few corners later. Once we were out front it was just about managing the gap to Jason, putting the laps in and when his tyres fell away I could get my head down and bring it home.

“Obviously we’ve lost a few points in the championship fight but we had no answer for the BMWs this weekend. I’m looking forward to going to Thruxton as we were strong there earlier in the season and since then we’ve moved the car on. We’re still in the fight and not giving up just yet!”

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship continues in less than two weeks’ time on August 27/28 as the series heads back to Thruxton Circuit for Rounds 22, 23 & 24.

Chris Ashby
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