Ashley Sutton moved to the summit of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship standings this past weekend (June 12/13) after claiming a sensational second victory of the season at a scorching Snetterton.

Five weeks on from the 2021 curtain-raiser at Thruxton, the Laser Tools Racing driver added a podium and 11th place finish alongside his win to leave the Norfolk venue two points clear of the chasing pack. 

Basking in glorious sunshine, the defending champion showed promising pace in both practice sessions on Saturday however his aspirations of making the Top Ten Showdown in qualifying were dealt a blow as his Infiniti Q50 was hampered by an engine issue from the outset. 

Hoping to progress into the second stage of qualifying – which would see the top ten drivers battle for pole position – the 27-year-old also had his fastest time removed due to exceeding track limits. Extracting the maximum out of the car, Ashley ultimately set a time good enough for 15th place. 

Lining up on the eighth row of the grid for the opening contest, the BRDC Superstar found himself in the thick of the action in his ballast-ladened rear-wheel-drive machine as he attempted to work his way up the order.

Despite featuring inside the top ten at one stage, Ashley’s attempt to make further progress saw him lose momentum and drop to 11th, where he would ultimately finish. 

Shedding the ballast and opting to run the option soft tyre, race two would see Ashley serve up a masterclass behind the wheel as he charged to victory. Starting where he finished race one, the double champion made up four places on the opening lap before picking off a number of other rivals by lap three. 

Moving into the podium places by lap six, the Bishop’s Stortford-based ace had the leaders in his sight and he wasted no time in moving to the front, slicing down the inside of Colin Turkington at Agostini. Once out front, Ashley managed his advantage all the way to the chequered flag for his 21st career victory.

Starting race three in seventh virtue of the reverse grid draw, Ashley – who was now carrying 75kgs of success ballast – produced another memorable drive as he capped of his weekend with a second place finish. 

Making early moves during a frenetic finale, Ashley fought his way into second just after mid-distance and then showcased his defensive skills as he held off the charging Gordon Shedden.

Ashley’s second win of the season and podium has seen him move to the top of the BTCC Drivers’ Championship, two points ahead of Tom Ingram. In the BTCC Independent Drivers’ Championship, Ashley shares top spot with Ingram.

Ashley Sutton: “It has been a phenomenal weekend! If you’d have told me I’d come away with a win, second place and the championship lead after qualifying then I definitely would have taken it. Huge credit has to go to the team because they gave me a fantastic car.

“We didn’t make as much progress as we’d have liked in race one but once the weight came out and we bolted the soft tyres on the car came alive. The ultimate goal was to win race two and we achieved that.

“To then go and grab another podium in race three is amazing. I didn’t expect to get quite as high as that but the car felt great and I found opportunities to work my way forward. That being said, I had my work cut out with Gordon behind me in the closing stages.

“Overall, I’m over the moon to be leading the championship. It was tough out there in those temperatures – it was a mental drain as much as physical one – but we’ve done the job we came here to do and go to Brands Hatch with our tails in the air.

“To also win again in front of the incredible BTCC fans was very special; we’ve all missed having them trackside this past year so to see them back on the bankings was fantastic!”

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship continues in under two weeks’ time on June 26/27 around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

Chris Ashby
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