Sutton charges to famous Knockhill win to further extend BTCC points lead

Ashley Sutton produced one of the most commanding performances of his career at Knockhill this past weekend (August 12/13) to extend his advantage at the top of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship standings to 37 points. 

On what proved to be a wet and wild trip north of the border, the NAPA Racing UK driver splashed his way to an eighth win of the season in the reverse grid bout after previously starring on slick tyres in race one and hounding Jake Hill to clinch second place in race two. 

Arriving at the Scottish circuit holding a slender six-point lead over Tom Ingram, the three-time champion endured a frenetic weekend as the UK’s premier motorsport series delivered a race day that will live long in the memory. 

The 29-year-old was in superlative form when it came to qualifying on Saturday as he chalked up his fourth pole position of the year, maintaining NAPA Racing UK’s unbeaten run in the process. 

Sunday’s opening contest will undoubtedly go down as a modern day classic, with Ashley emerging as one of the stars of the show. Starting on slick tyres, the multiple title winner played his part in a captivating duel with Josh Cook in the opening exchanges before heavy rain began to fall.

With conditions worsening, a majority of the field headed for the pit lane for wet tyres but Ashley valiantly remained out front on slicks – demonstrating astonishing car control in the process. After a brief safety car period the series leader was forced to pit, rejoining the fray to finish sixth.

The weekend’s second encounter – held in the dry – saw Ashley come close to victory as he shadowed Jake Hill all the way to the chequered flag. Wasting no time in progressing up to second from the third row of the grid, the BRDC racer set off after Hill, slowly reeling him in.

Once onto the back of the BMW, Ashley made a number of minor attacks as he danced his car through the chicane but he ultimately never came close enough to making a move for the lead; leaving him to settle for second. 

Race three could be argued as being one of Ashley’s best yet in the BTCC as he obliterated the field in treacherous conditions to win by almost ten seconds. Starting sixth, the front-wheel-drive ace scythed his way through to second before setting off after leader Ronan Pearson.

Closing down the Hyundai driver within a matter of laps, Ashley made a simple pass for the lead and from there he charged off into the spray, extending the gap to Cook who finished second on an almost lap-by-lap basis to comfortably take victory. 

Ashley Sutton: “I think that weekend sums up the BTCC perfectly; it’s unpredictable and you never quite know what is going to happen next! To come away with another win and having extended the lead in the championship is phenomenal – but there is still a long way to go.

“After race one I thought we were going to be really up against it in terms of the championship fight but Tom being disqualified and then finishing second in race two meant that the pendulum swung back my way. 

“Sitting on the grid before race three – with the rain coming down – I knew there was the chance to take a win; I’m over the moon we managed to hook it all up. The car was on absolute rails and that’s down to everyone’s hard work at NAPA Racing UK!

“This is the biggest points lead I’ve ever had in the BTCC and while it’s nice, I’m not going to get too excited just yet. There is plenty of racing still to come and as we’ve seen, anything can happen. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and aim to hit the ground running at Donington Park.”

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship continues in less than two weeks’ time on August 26/27 as the series heads back to Donington Park – this time on the Grand Prix circuit – for Rounds 22, 23 & 24.

Chris Ashby
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