Ash Sutton expressed his frustration with Chris Smiley in the final British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Snetterton, as the Laser Tools Racing driver lost out in a tussle with title rival Colin Turkington.
Sutton had been scrapping with Excelr8 Motorsport’s Smiley for fifth in the final, reverse-grid race of the weekend, in which the Northern Irishman had started from pole.
Clearly struggling for pace, Smiley was holding up Sutton, who had title rival Turkington on his tail.
As Sutton attempted a pass into the final corner on lap seven, Smiley pushed the Infiniti driver wide, and in the process Turkington was able to slip past.
Although Sutton went on to take the position from Smiley and finish in fourth, he lost further ground to Turkington, who was one place ahead in third at the chequered flag.
“I got hit left, right and centre, and he just stayed out of trouble,” said a frustrated Sutton after race three. “I felt like I gave every car the room they needed, and Smiley decided differently.
“It was a bit of a kick in the teeth for Colin for to obviously jump us, but I feel like today we’ve been pushed around a little bit.
“We’ve not had the pace in the car ultimately, but we’ve come away still in with a shout, which is the key thing going in to Brands.”
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Sutton also hinted that he felt Smiley had purposefully slowed him down and allowed fellow Northern Irishman Turkington through into third.
“I think he forgot the racing line, if I’m honest with you – he seemed to follow the white line on the inside of the circuit, which by all means he’s allowed to do, but then when the car’s alongside you can’t drive them clean off the track.
“It was made very easily – for Chris Smiley to break and let him by it was just one of those, I knew where I stood with that situation.
“It was blindly obvious what was going on, but unfortunately, I was on the receiving end.
“Now it’s on to Brands and I’m going to be all guns blazing going to Brands.”
Sutton leaves Snetterton having lost the lead in the drivers’ championship, with the 26-year-old now nine points behind Turkington heading to next months’ season finale at Brands Hatch.