Reigning British Touring Car Champion Ash Sutton maintained his lead at the top of the 2021 drivers’ standings with three top ten finishes including another podium at Brands Hatch.
Sutton arrived at the third event of the season atop the drivers’ standings, which also meant that the Laser Tools Racing driver would be burdened with the maximum 75 kg of success ballast going into qualifying and race one.
Despite the weight, Sutton topped second practice to give him some optimism for qualifying. Whilst unable to replicate quite the same ranking in qualifying, Sutton put his Infiniti in a creditable seventh for Sunday’s first race.
Despite a strong start in race one that saw him gain places early on, Sutton slipped back to sixth as the race progressed, but he was able to maintain pressure on Jake Hill’s Ford ahead and eventually took the chequered flag in fifth, having passed team-mate Aiden Moffat but unable to get ahead of Hill.
With 36 kg less weight on board for race two, Sutton was able to claim a second-place finish, by just 0.038 seconds, after taking advantage of last-lap contact between race winner Tom Ingram and long-time leader Tom Oliphant.
The reverse-grid final race put Sutton back in 11th on the grid with 66 kg of ballast on board, and as such progress was more limited, with the 27-year-old only able to gain ground to eighth by the end of the race.
His trio of top ten finishes mean Sutton remains on top of the points table by just three points from Ingram.
“It has been another really strong weekend,” said Sutton. “Coming into the event carrying maximum ballast, to qualify and run inside the top ten across all sessions – and take a podium in race two – is a great result and testament to all of the hard work everyone at Laser Tools Racing is putting in.
“We worked hard in all three races and that podium in race two was a bonus. I really wanted the win, but Tom got ahead of me on the first lap and from there I was just chasing him down.
“Still, it is nice to come away with some silverware and keep the points finishes ticking along.
“We’ve got a five-week break now before Oulton Park – where we should be strong – and then things will really pick up as we have an event every other weekend pretty much.
“It’s early doors in terms of the title battle and there is a long way to go, anything can happen in the BTCC!
“Consistency has kept us on top this weekend and that is what is going to win this championship. I’m happy with the points we’ve got on the board so now we can rest and get ready to pick things up next month.”