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Ashley Sutton: ‘Driving standards need to be looked at’

Ashley Sutton has criticised the driving standards in the British Touring Car Championship after Sunday’s spate of accidents, which the MG driver was innocently caught up in.

Sutton had qualified strongly to put his MG6 in eighth on the grid for the opening race of the day, and he had worked his way up to fourth by the end of the opening lap.

Although the Mercedes of Adam Morgan later took the position from Sutton, he was running well until a late-race puncture put paid to his efforts and dropped him out of the points.

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“We had a great race, we looked after the tyres for the whole race and we literally just had one kerb strike and the front left let go,” said Sutton to TouringCars.Net. “It set the tone for the rest of the day.”

“We were very tame [on set-up] and we were driving around at 90%. Apparently something got snapped off and it was quite sharp, so whether that was the cause of it we don’t know.”

Sutton was then caught up in the melée in race two, as Dan Welch and Ollie Jackson made contact in front of him, with Sutton spearing at full speed into the spinning Proton of Welch.

“I was a bit of a sitting duck in that one unfortunately,” said Sutton. “If you’ve got people crashing in a straight line, there’s something wrong. If someone is going up the inside for a move into a corner, OK, it’s racing. You’re going to end up having these nudges and budges. But if you’re crashing in a straight line twice, in race two and three, then something isn’t quite right.

“Don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves a chance to be here, but people have got to understand the money that’s being put into this, and the health and safety of everyone.

“Poor old Dan Welch might not be racing for the rest of the season because of someone else’s stupidity. For me it needs to be looked at.”

Despite the set-back, Sutton praised his Triple Eight team, who managed to repair his car for race three and allow him to score two points with 14th.

“The team have been fantastic. I actually said to them at the point of impact ‘we’re going to be lucky to get this out’ because I looked across and saw that the floor was all folded up in the passenger foot well.

“So to get the car back out? I can’t thank them enough, they put in a sterling effort in the end.

“It wasn’t that bad, but the car was obviously not strung together, it was literally just slapped up and bolted together and sent out, so we didn’t have a set-up on there to a degree. The car wasn’t too bad to be fair given the condition of it, but it is pretty used!”

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