Battling Ash Sutton leads the standings after Donington Park

A strategy of “not leaving anything on the table” helped Team BMR’s Ash Sutton to the top of an extremely tightly-contested points table after the second BTCC meeting of the season at Donington Park.

Sutton finished second, third and fifth in the three races in his Subaru Levorg, and leaves Leicestershire three points ahead of BTC Racing’s Josh Cook.

Just six points cover the top five in the standings, with West Surrey Racing’s Colin Turkington and Motorbase Performance’s Tom Chilton tied on 65 points and AmD Tuning’s Rory Butcher a further point back on 64.

Sutton’s last two seasons have been famous for late charges after slow starts, but it is a different landscape in 2019, with a consistent approach paying dividends.

The 25-year-old, who is yet to win a race in 2019, told TouringCarTimes: “We’ve not had the pace to be where we are, but we’ve just been banking the points. It makes our life a little bit easier at the end of the season but it’s made it very hard for Thruxton!”

Asked if leading the table meant anything at this stage, the 2017 champion added: “No, but every driver would say the same! I’d much rather be a few points behind. I’ve said to the boys that we can’t leave anything on the table, even if that means we are going to be on full ballast.”

Sutton was involved in some fierce battles throughout the day, including a key move on Tom Oliphant into the Old Hairpin at the start of race two and an entertaining fight with Jason Plato in the finale.

He said: “It was nice to be racing my old team-mate Jason – it was good, fair, clean racing! We had a little trade of paint but it was spot on.

“With Tom, I knew he would be very quick at the start, as the Bee-Em seems very quick off the line. My mindset was just forget about it and think about how I could get him back. I’m coming through whether you like it or not!”

Looking ahead to Thruxton and the prospect of carrying maximum weight, Sutton said: “It’s going to really hurt. I think we’re just going to have to try and get rid of it as soon as possible after race one.”