Ash Sutton keeps title bid on track with ‘solid start’ to the season

Laser tools Racing’s Ash Sutton secured another two podium finishes in the second event of the British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch, as he moved up to second in the drivers’ standings.

Fresh from having claimed Infiniti’s first win in the BTCC less than one week previous, Sutton took to the Grand Prix circuit at the Kent track in high spirits.

A blocked heat exchanger in Saturday’s second practice session limited the 2017 champion’s running, and with less data to take into a sweltering qualifying, Sutton could only qualify in 14th for race one, having also lost one of his fastest times for exceeding track limits.

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Unperturbed, Sutton pressed on and made up eight places in the opening race to claim sixth, having been inside the top ten by the end of the first lap, before moving forwards again in race two as he claimed third.

For the reverse-grid race, Sutton would have to start from tenth whilst also carrying 48 kg of success ballast for his earlier podium result.

Sutton was in fourth by the end of the opening lap, and was soon on the tail of race leader Tom Oliphant.

Despite applying race-long pressure to the BMW, Sutton was unable to find a way past and had to settle for second.

“I’m happy to come away with two podiums this weekend,” said the 26-year-old. “Considering we were on the back foot after not running in FP2 we can’t complain with the results we’ve had.

“Missing FP2 meant we were playing catch up and after qualifying 14th we were in for a busy race day.

“The car was mega though and we kept our nose clean in races one and two, picking up some great points and some silverware.

“I had a mega start race three, got my elbows out and managed to get towards the front early on in race but despite throwing everything I had at Tom I couldn’t get the win.

“I think the weight we had on-board hindered us a bit but second is still a fantastic result.

“It’s been a solid start to the season and everyone at Laser Tools Racing and BMR Engineering has done a phenomenal job.

“We’ve now got a few days to take stock and see what improvements we can make before Oulton Park in a couple of weeks.”

Sutton leaves the Kent circuit second in the drivers’ championship, 16 points behind Colin Turkington, whilst he has moved into the lead of the independent drivers’ standings.

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