Ashley Sutton scores Silverstone podium to set up BTCC title showdown

Ashley Sutton will take a five-point lead into the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship series finale in less than two weeks’ time after storming to top of the standings following a standout performance at Silverstone this past weekend (September 24/25).

On what proved to be an action-packed penultimate event of the season, the NAPA Racing UK driver scored a pivotal podium, along with two more top six finishes, to ensure he heads to Brands Hatch in the pound seat as he chases a record-equalling fourth title.

Arriving at the Home of British Motor Racing riding a wave of momentum having scored three wins since the turn of the summer break, the Ford Focus ST driver fettled his front-wheel-drive machine across both practice sessions before Saturday’s all-important battle for pole position.

Qualifying around the 1.64-mile National layout underlined just how competitive the UK’s premier motorsport series currently is with no less than 26 drivers covered by less than second, with the reigning champion ultimately setting the seventh fastest time.

Race one proved to be a frenetic affair as Ashley – who was presented the BRDC Silver Star prior to the weekend – serving up a battling drive on his way to sixth place.

Holding position following a busy first few laps where he was in the thick of the action, the 28-year-old soon settled into a groove and after slipping past team-mate Dan Cammish late on, he clinched vital points in the championship battle.

Race two saw Ashley make more progress as he charged to fourth place. Making two deceive moves on the opening tour, the three-time title winner proceeded to fend off one of his chief title rivals Tom Ingram all the way to the chequered flag.

The weekend’s third and final race at the Northamptonshire track saw Ashley clinch his 12th podium of the season. Starting fifth virtue of the reverse grid draw, drama at Becketts on the opening lap allowed Ashley to carve his way into second and despite pressure from Rory Butcher, he brought the curtain down on his day with silverware. 

With just three races now remaining, Ashley holds a five-point advantage over Jake Hill in the BTCC Drivers’ Championship with Ingram a further two points adrift. Colin Turkington is the fourth driver that remains in contention, albeit 27 points in arrears.

In the BTCC Teams’ Championship, NAPA Racing UK sit on the cusp of title glory having built up a 42-point lead ahead of the season finale.

Ashley Sutton: “I really couldn’t have asked for more from the weekend! We knew that Silverstone wasn’t going to be our strongest track but we cracked on and managed to chip away and come out of it with three really strong finishes and the championship lead.

“Everyone at NAPA Racing UK and Motorbase Performance was been phenomenal again too; the car was mega! Big praise has to go to Dan [Cammish] because he’s been the ultimate wing man in supporting my campaign.

“After how the year began, to be going into the finale as championship leader is just perfect timing. We’ve had an 11-point swing from being six down to five up and now it’s game on; you couldn’t have scripted the way it is all set up.

“I’m buzzing to get to Brands Hatch! I’ve always gone well around the Grand Prix circuit and the car should be very strong there. You never quite know what the weather will do on Finals Day but we will just take whatever comes.

“I’m very comfortable with the situation I’m in as I know the demands that comes with the finale, both in and out of the car. It’s going to be an epic showdown and I can’t wait!

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will bring the curtain down on its 2022 season on October 8/9, with three races set to play out around the Grand Prix layout of Brands Hatch.

Chris Ashby
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