Subaru Levorg racer Ashley Sutton secures two wins at Croft
Reigning champion takes two out of three wins over weekend; BTCC returnee Dan Lloyd triumphs in third race
Reigning British Touring Car Championship champion Ashley Sutton won two out of three races at Croft over the weekend, putting the 24-year-old’s title defence back in motion after a stuttered start to the season.
Sutton dominated the first race after making a wise call to run his Subaru Levorg on the hard tyre, providing the Team BMR driver with a car consistent enough to pull out a four-second lead over the chasing Andrew Jordan in the WSR-run BMW 1 Series.
Not even a safety car could provide Jordan with a sniff at victory; Sutton’s teammate Jason Plato even sneaked past Jordan in the race’s closing stages before setting out to catch the leading driver. But Sutton’s lead was impenetrable.
Sutton lost the lead at the start of race two to the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram, but Sutton’s superior pace meant he fought his way back into the lead before the close of the second lap.
But Ingram, who is in the running for this year’s title behind championship leader Colin Turkington of WSR, couldn’t match the speed of Sutton, who was racing with maximum success ballast. Ingram fell back and into the crutches of Turkington, who tried every trick in his book to edge his BMW past the Avensis. Ingram defended every opportunity to just hold onto the spot, ensuring the top three remained unchanged.
In the final race, BTCC returnee Dan Lloyd took advantage of the pole position gifted to him via the series’ reverse grid format, making a clean start in his Honda Civic Type R to lead the field into the first corner. The BTC Norlin Racing driver, a regular front runner in the TCR series he also competes in, was untouchable and drove away from the pack to secure the top step of the podium.
Behind him, the result was less clear. The chasing Tom Chilton in his Motorbase Ford Focus spent most of the race watching for Senna Proctor, who placed immense pressure on the car ahead in his hunt for second. But the experienced Chilton maintained his place.
Sutton, laden with maximum ballast again, worked his way up from ninth to a respectable seventh. Title leader Turkington finished in fifth, with his archrival Ingram in ninth and now 19 points behind in the standings.
Ingram is, however, 16 points clear of Honda’s Matt Neal, with Jordan a further seven points behind that.
The BTCC series now heads into a small break before racing recommences at the fast and technical Snetterton during 28-29 July.
Source: Autocar Online