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Ashley Sutton takes measured stance on contact and tyre issues

Ashley Sutton has taken a mature stance on the incident that left him effectively out of the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship contest of the weekend at Thruxton, and equally believes some of the tyre wear issues at the Hampshire venue are down to the actions of the drivers.

Despite initially losing ground at the start, the reigning Clio Cup champion and Donington Park pole-sitter pulled his MG6 back into contention by reclaiming his starting position of fifth by the conclusion of the opening lap.

However, following Aiden Moffat through past Tom Ingram into Noble corner resulted in contact, with the MG RCIB Insurance Racing driver unable to do anything to prevent head-on contact with the tyre barrier on the inside of the corner, effectively ending his race.

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The race, which was red flagged with four laps to go after a dramatic incident that saw Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Sutton’s team-mate, Josh Cook, all come together on the main straight, was eventually won by Adam Morgan ahead of Ingram and Andrew Jordan.

Speaking to shortly after the race concluded, Sutton admitted the contact was simply a racing incident, and conceded Ingram had probably just been unaware of the MG coming through after Moffat’s Mercedes A-Class.

“I didn’t get a great start, but we managed to claw ourselves back up to fifth by the end of the lap.” he explained.

“Unfortunately I went through Noble up the inside of Tom [Ingram], following Aiden [Moffat] through. Unfortunately I don’t think Tom was expecting another car there, we just touched and broke the back of the car. That put me into an instant slide, I was a bit of a passenger to be honest, but I’m not going to point fingers at anybody – it was a racing incident.”

Tyre wear was a hot topic in the paddock in the moments following the race, with some quarters questioning whether the Dunlop tyres could sustain a race distance in the current conditions, given how many sustained punctures or reported vibrations in a reduced distance.

However, Sutton was quick to highlight the actions of his fellow competitors as equally responsible for tyre failures, and paid tribute to tyre suppliers Dunlop for keeping the field informed about the limits and how to respect them.

“I think year on year, there is a problem [with tyre wear]. Obviously I don’t know what it was like last year, because I wasn’t here and wasn’t involved, but by the sounds of it, a lot of people are struggling,” commented Sutton.

“But we all know the rules – the Dunlop guys do come and tell us ‘mind the kerbs, take it easy’. We’re racing drivers, we do take the mic, but we all know the rules, so obey them. That’s all I’m going to say. If people are going to push it past the boundaries they’re going to pay the price.”

The second race of the afternoon gets underway at 14:32.

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