Reigning British Touring Car champion Ash Sutton says he is ‘over the moon’ to be leading the drivers’ standings after the second meeting of the year at Snetterton.
Sutton went into the meeting fourth in the standings but left the Norfolk circuit at the top of the table after claiming points in all three races, including a win in race two and second in race three.
The Laser Tools Racing driver had experienced an engine issue in qualifying which prevented him from progressing to the top ten shootout, leaving him to start from 15th for the first race on Sunday.
On the medium tyre, Sutton made modest progress up to 11th by the chequered flag, but it was in race two where the Infiniti driver came alive.
Sutton, without ballast, flew through the field on the soft tyre, going from 11th on the grid to claim victory in a scintillating drive.
Then, despite carrying maximum ballast and being back on the medium rubber for race three, he held off the soft-tyre and ballast-free Gordon Shedden to claim second in another strong drive from seventh on the grid.
The 27-year-old was delighted with his weekend in Norfolk, having claimed his second win of the season to move to the top of the standings by two points over Tom Ingram.
“It has been a phenomenal weekend,” said Sutton. “If you’d have told me I’d come away with a win, second place and the championship lead after qualifying then I definitely would have taken it.
“Huge credit has to go to the team because they gave me a fantastic car.
“We didn’t make as much progress as we’d have liked in race one but once the weight came out and we bolted the soft tyres on the car came alive. The ultimate goal was to win race two and we achieved that.
“To then go and grab another podium in race three is amazing. I didn’t expect to get quite as high as that, but the car felt great and I found opportunities to work my way forward.
“That being said, I had my work cut out with Gordon behind me in the closing stages.”
Sutton also admitted that he had been delighted to see the return of fans to the series, with a limited 4,000 being in attendance at the circuit.
“Overall, I’m over the moon to be leading the championship. It was tough out there in those temperatures – it was a mental drain as much as physical one – but we’ve done the job we came here to do and go to Brands Hatch with our tails in the air.
“To also win again in front of the incredible BTCC fans was very special; we’ve all missed having them trackside this past year so to see them back on the bankings was fantastic!”