Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton produced a dazzling display in wet conditions to storm from eighth on the grid to take victory in Round 8 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park.
The 2017 champion made a stellar getaway and was into fourth early on but he still had rivals Colin Turkington (Team BMW), Dan Cammish (Halfords Yuasa Racing) and Rory Butcher (Motorbase Performance) ahead of him.
Turkington and Cammish enjoyed a race long battle and they were briefly joined by Sutton, before the latter saw them off with a couple of impressive opportunistic moves.
The moment of truth came before mid-distance as Sutton’s Infiniti Q50 cruised up behind Butcher’s race leading Ford Focus. The pair crossed the line nose-to-tail but Sutton blasted his Japanese machine around the outside of Old Hall Corner and into the lead.
Sutton never looked back as he comfortably claimed his second victory of the season while Butcher took a lonely second place behind him.
“Everyone at Laser Tools Racing and BMR Engineering did a mega job,” said Sutton. “I wanted to get the first couple of laps out of the way. It’s very narrow around here and it’s easy to make car contact. But once we got into that clean air into fourth, we knew what we’ve got, we know what we can do with it. Rory made a slight error at turn one, which just allowed me to get underneath him and made my life easier.”
“I actually set my fastest lap of the race when Sutton was just behind me, but he reeled me in and I thought ‘that’s as good as I’ve got’,” responded Butcher. “It was just a case of when rather than if – he was ballistic. The good thing is our car was potentially the strongest front wheel drive out there. The Ford is fantastic here, the conditions just seemed to suit the rear wheel drive cars more.”
2019 title protagonists Cammish and Turkington battled it out for almost the entire contest, with the BMW man eventually getting by when the number #27 Honda went too deep into the hairpin.
“It was quite a good race for me,” said Turkington. “The car was quicker than it had been in race one and I could sense quite early on that we had a bit more pace than Dan. It’s always tricky to get past at Oulton Park so I had to be patient.
“I could see where he was struggling to get the car stopped down at the hairpin and twice I had the undercut but not the traction to get the move completed, but persistence paid off.”
Tom Ingram made his own moves during the encounter – most notably by Jake Hill’s Honda – with the manufacturer-backed Toyota grabbing fifth before the finish.
Tom Oliphant charged to a top six finish with the BMWs showing exceptional pace late on, whilst Hill eventually had to settle for seventh.
BTC Racing’s Tom Chilton was eighth while Adam Morgan (Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools) and the impressive Bobby Thompson (GKR TradePriceCars.com) completed the top ten.
Audi man Thompson has enjoyed a hugely positive day so far, having failed to set a single lap during Saturday’s qualifying session. Thompson went from the back to 14th in the opener, before a further improvement to tenth in the second race, and there was further cause for celebration when the #10 was chosen at random in the reverse grid draw – meaning the Essex man will start today’s final race from pole position.
A special mention for Matt Neal on his 700th BTCC race start as the tin top legend moved through the pack to claim 13th. The bad luck continued for Josh Cook following his exclusion in race one, as his second bout ended following contact with BTC Racing stable-mate Michael Crees.
Round 9 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at 17:05 with the action being broadcast live on ITV4.
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Oulton Park
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing 15 laps
2 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +4.716s
3 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +7.260s
4 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +10.412s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +10.779s
6 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +14.678s
7 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +15.890s
8 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +16.629s
9 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +17.573s
10 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +18.095s
11 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +24.166s
12 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +26.086s
13 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +27.883s
14 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +30.474s
15 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +30.981s
16 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +35.353s
17 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +38.232s
18 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +38.298s
19 Andy NEATE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +41.373s
20 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +46.396s
21 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +47.999s
22 Ollie BROWN (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Team HARD +52.373s
23 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Team HARD +54.427s
24 Jack BUTEL (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +55.217s
25 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) HUB Financial Solutions with Team HARD +55.392s
26 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Power Maxed Car Care Racing +1:23.557s
27 James GORNALL (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +12 laps