Ash Sutton says he and NAPA Racing UK have more work to do to ‘get the car in that sweet spot’ after he struggled for qualifying pace in the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.
Sutton still sits third in the drivers’ standings after securing a trio of top tens at the weekend, but there continues to be head-scratching at the Motorbase Performance team.
Both Sutton and team-ate Dan Cammish had struggled for race pace in the season opener at Donington Park, but it seemed to be the other way around on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, as Sutton qualified down in 18th for race one – his worst since 2019.
However, with inclement weather on Sunday, Sutton surged up the order and took three top ten finishes, with a high of fourth in race two, in which he also secured the fastest lap of the race.
The reigning champion admits that the team still has some work to do to understand how to best setup the car for both single lap and race pace ahead of the next round of the championship at Thruxton on 28 – 29 May.
“Considering where we were after qualifying on Saturday I’m pretty happy to come away with three top ten finishes and still sitting third in the championship,” said Sutton.
“I’d say we were helped a little bit by the weather on Sunday, but the car certainly felt better and I was able to make progress in all three races.
“I love those sorts of conditions and given the fact we were able to look after the tyres it meant that I could keep pushing right till the end.
“We’re gonna have a good chat and a debrief in the coming days so that we can get a better understanding of how we get the car in that sweet spot.
“At the moment we are a little cornered and we’re just trying to find an exit; we’ll get there and once we do we’ll be well in the mix.
“Next, we’re off to Thruxton and I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on there. I think the hybrid deployment and its impact will be quite interesting.
“The car should be strong there – it certainly was at the Season Launch – so I’m confident we can get amongst it.”
Sutton sits third overall in the drivers’ standings with 71 points, 21 adrift of leader Tom Ingram.