Dominant double gives Sutton BTCC points lead at Snetterton

Ashley Sutton moved to the top of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship standings this past weekend (May 20/21) after scoring a superb double win at Snetterton.

Following on from his Brands Hatch brace last time out, the NAPA Racing UK driver was wheel-perfect at the Norfolk venue as he made history by becoming the first driver since Alain Menu in 1997 to win four races in a row.

Those victories, along with a measured drive to fourth in the reverse grid finale, means that the three-time champion now holds a seven-point advantage at the summit of the Drivers’ Championship after three events.

Saturday arguably belonged to the 29-year-old as he broke the existing qualifying lap record on his way to pole position. Setting a blistering pace in opening practice, the Ford Focus ST driver reigned supreme later that afternoon in what was a disrupted qualifying session.

Following two red flag stoppages, Ashley wasted no time in lighting up the timing screens as he set a stunning 1:54.526 lap around the 2.97-mile circuit to clinch pole by more than three tenths of a second.

Choosing to run the medium tyre compound in the first of Sunday’s three races, the front-wheel-drive ace stormed to a 30th career victory – but not before holding off a late charge from the soft tyre BMW of Jake Hill.

The multiple title winner made a sensational start to the contest as he opened up a three second lead over the chasing pack in as many laps. As expected, those running softs came to the fore as the race wore on but despite Hill closing in the latter stages, Ashley had more than enough in hand to triumph.

Ashley’s dominant run continued in race two as he charged to an emphatic victory on the soft tyre. Leading from the lights-to-flag, the BRDC Member was untroubled out front as he comfortably controlled proceedings.

Starting the reverse grid finale from sixth – and with the less favourable hard tyre bolted on – Ashley was able to keep out of trouble to cross the line in fifth before inheriting a further position post-race due to team-mate Dan Cammish being excluded.

In addition to topping the BTCC Drivers’ Championship, Ashley’s 55-point haul at Snetterton also ensured that Motorbase and NAPA Racing UK continue to lead both the Manufacturer-Constructors’ and Teams’ Championship’s.

Ashley Sutton: “It’s been another mega weekend and I feel this time we’ve really proven a point! To win four races on the bounce in the BTCC is an awesome achievement and a testament to all of the hard work that everyone at NAPA Racing UK has been putting in.

“This car is hands down one of the best touring cars that I’ve ever driven; it’s on absolute rails. Pole has been on the cards for us this year so it was nice to hook it up in qualifying and then convert it into a couple of wins.

“Those opening laps in both races were crucial and really key – especially given how important tyre strategy was going to be over the course of the day. I literally just got my head down and punched in qualifying laps early on to build a gap that was ultimately good enough for us to bring it home.

“Being able to round things off with a fourth on the hard tyre was solid and means we now take a seven-point lead to Thruxton in a couple of weeks’ time. We’re in a good form at the moment so the aim will be to maintain this momentum and target another big points haul next time.”

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship next heads to the fastest circuit on the calendar, Thruxton, for Rounds 10, 11 & 12 on June 3/4.

Chris Ashby
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