Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton explained that his Infiniti Q50 “came alive” during the closing stages of race one of the British Touring Car Championship season finale at Brands Hatch.
The 2017 champion headed the second row of the grid and managed to jump front row starter Rory Butcher off the line, before dropping back down to third position as race winner Dan Cammish made a move on the fourth lap on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend.
After a safety car stoppage on the seventh tour, Sutton then kept with polesitter Tom Ingram’s Toyota and Dan Cammish’s Honda as the pair battled for the lead, before then setting about challenging Ingram himself.
After a couple of attempts, the Infiniti racer then completed the move on lap 22, using the rear-wheel drive traction to drag past the Toyota on the exit of Graham Hill Bend and heading into Surtees.
“I felt like we had a very good car at the end of the race,” said Sutton. “The tyres just started to come in – they seemed to take a very, very long time – but I saw Tom was sort of wounded to some extent.
“He was falling into my lap so I did play it safe but if the move was 100 per cent on then I was doing it.”
After passing Ingram, Sutton then cut the deficit to leader Cammish considerably, setting the fastest lap of the race and crucially regaining the lead in the championship from rival Colin Turkington by just two points.
He continued to say he felt the car “came alive” after the safety car interruption, and only felt he could really stretch his legs to chase down Cammish’s once he felt he had the car underneath him to challenge.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say they were coming my way [the conditions], I think if anything the car came alive. Just before the safety car it felt like, ‘Hang on a minute, I’ve got a car underneath me.’
“The safety car happened and then we had to start again so it wasn’t until the latter phase of the race that I had the pace to put a move on Tom and then obviously try and run down Dan.”
The second British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Brands Hatch is scheduled to get underway at 12:35 BST.