Ash Sutton had no complaints about racing with Aiden Moffat in the opening British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, which saw the duo engaged in a fierce battle that saw Sutton claim a podium result.
Sutton had started the race from sixth on the grid, and by the end of the second lap the Subaru driver was in fifth, on the tail of Moffat and Colin Turkington in the pursuit of the final podium position.
With Moffat clearly struggling for pace in his Mercedes, the field soon bunched up behind the Scot. On lap seven Sutton got past Turkington when the BMW driver attempted to pass Moffat, and three laps later Sutton tried a move of his own when Moffat went wide.
However as the Mercedes came back onto the track, Sutton had to take avoiding action and ended up on the grass, losing two places briefly before retaking them later in the lap with a superbly-timed move on both drivers.
Despite being forced off the circuit, Sutton had no issue with Moffat’s driving, saying that he felt the move was fair and that he has respect for Moffat.
“I saw him run wide and I thought ‘now’s my chance’,” said Sutton to TouringCars.Net of the first attempt to pass. “I was probably completely out of his sight, out of his mirrors, so I knew he was always going to be coming across.
“It was just one of those things – we didn’t touch, he didn’t force me there, he just made me panic and I thought ‘I’ve got to get over’. He was fair to me after that, so I ‘ve got no complaint to make. We get on, on and off the track, we’ve got that mutual respect, so that’s the main thing.”
Sutton was once again the top performing Subaru in the race, taking a podium finish as team-mate Jason Plato could only manage 12th. He admits that he has no idea why he is regularly the best-performing Levorg driver this season.
“Everyone’s asked me, and I haven’t got an answer,” added Sutton. “I’m just getting on with my own job, my own achievements and cracking on with it.
“It’s an open book; we all share information, but we’ve all got our own different driving styles, so there is that variation; it can never be exactly the same set-up. We’ve just got to find what works for each other.”
Looking ahead to race two, from third on the grid, Sutton was cautious about predicting a potential first race win of the season.
“We’ve never had this much ballast and the soft tyre on at the same time, so I really don’t know what the car’s going to hold up like. Time will tell and we’ll see how it goes.”