Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton soaked up plenty of pressure from defending champion Colin Turkington in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill.
After securing Infiniti’s first ever pole position for race one, Sutton led the opening lap comfortably from standings leader Turkington who had jumped front row starter Jake Hill before facing immediate pressure from the Honda racer.
That battle then came to a head at the hairpin at the end of the opening lap, as 2019 runner up Dan Cammish swooped around the outside of both Hill and then Turkington before the BMW racer squeezed him onto the gravel.
Cammish then fell down to sixth position after losing traction, allowing Tom Ingram’s Toyota Corolla and Rory Butcher’s Ford Focus ST through for fourth and fifth positions respectively.
The safety car was then called on the fifth tour of the 1.27-mile circuit after Josh Cook appeared to suffer a suspension failure on the entry to the chicane, firing his Honda Civic Type R into the barriers and sustaining heavy damage.
Cook had been battling with Tom Oliphant, swooping around the outside of Duffus Dip with a brave move before ending up in the barriers later in the lap.
When the race resumed on lap nine, there was immediate contact behind the restarting train of cars between Andy Neate’s Ford and James Gornall’s Audi, with both cars retiring after heavy damage.
Luckily both cars recovered to the pits before the charging back came back through, with Sutton’s 1.7 second lead pre-safety car brought down to a matter of tenths between himself and title rival Turkington.
In the end Sutton kept the four-time champion at bay, securing fast lap en route to his second victory of the season, bringing the points deficit between them down to 13 points.
Kent racer Jake Hill secured his second podium of the season by holding off Ingram’s Toyota, while Butcher and Cammish held their positions in fifth and sixth.
Cammish’s team-mate Matt Neal fought through the pack to seventh position, rewarding the Team Dynamics squad with a solid result after a heavy crash in qualifying yesterday.
He fought his way past Aiden Moffat and then chased Mike Bushell, eventually forcing an error from the Power Maxed Racing driver at Duffus Dip, filling the Vauxhall Astra’s radiator with grass and subsequently causing a pit stop.
Brands Hatch race three winner Tom Oliphant also managed to eclipse Moffat at the latter’s home circuit, while Stephen Jelly pipped Tom Chilton’s BTC Racing Honda by just 0.011s at the line on the final lap after a tight scrap.
Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan, who won the final race last time out at Oulton Park, came home in 12th ahead of the Excelr8 Motorsport duo of Senna Proctor and Chris Smiley, while Carl Boardley’s BMW 1 Series completed the points-paying positions.
The second race of the British Touring Car Championship is scheduled to get underway at 13:30 BST.
|1||116||I||Ashley SUTTON||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||27||25:28.206||51.016||1|
|2||1||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||27||0.350||51.181||3|
|3||24||I||Jake HILL||MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square||Honda Civic Type-R||27||3.541||51.233||2|
|4||80||M||Tom INGRAM||Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters||Toyota Corolla||27||4.037||51.190||5|
|5||6||I||Rory BUTCHER||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||27||5.215||51.391||6|
|6||27||M||Dan CAMMISH||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||27||6.049||51.366||4|
|7||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||27||8.683||51.569||9|
|8||15||M||Tom OLIPHANT||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||27||8.983||51.247||10|
|9||16||I||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||27||10.237||51.459||8|
|10||12||I||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||27||12.457||51.450||12|
|11||3||I||Tom CHILTON||BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||27||12.468||51.456||13|
|12||32||I||Adam MORGAN||Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||16.051||51.938||14|
|13||18||I||Senna PROCTOR||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||27||16.529||51.862||15|
|14||22||I||Chris SMILEY||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||27||18.382||51.881||19|
|15||41||I||Carl BOARDLEY||Team HARD.||BMW 125i M Sport||27||20.902||51.661||17|
|16||48||I||Ollie JACKSON||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||27||21.756||51.926||21|
|17||777||I||Michael CREES||The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||27||21.999||51.679||16|
|18||19||I||Bobby THOMPSON||GKR TradePriceCars.com||Audi S3||27||24.555||51.683||20|
|19||4||I||Sam OSBORNE||MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square||Honda Civic Type-R||27||25.296||51.726||18|
|20||32||I||Jack BUTEL||Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||28.561||52.220||25|
|21||21||I||Mike BUSHELL||Power Maxed Car Care Racing||Vauxhall Astra||26||+ 1 LAP||51.730||7|
|R||180||I||James GORNALL||GKR TradePriceCars.com||Audi S3||9||DNF||51.862||23|
|R||44||I||Andy NEATE||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus ST||9||DNF||52.313||24|
|R||66||I||Josh COOK||BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||4||DNF||52.210||11|
|R||31||I||Jack GOFF||RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport||Volkswagen CC||0||DNF||N/A||22|