Ash Sutton controls Knockhill opener
Ash Sutton produced a controlled drive from pole position to secure his third win of the BTCC season in the opening race at Knockhill.
The Laser Tools Racing man led the field away at the start ahead of Colin Turkington, who jumped up to second in his BMW after getting ahead – as predicted – of the Honda of Jake Hill.
Sutton set about trying to build a lead at the front and was edging away from the pack behind before the safety car was deployed after a huge off for Josh Cook going into the Chicane.
Battling for a place inside the top ten with Tom Oliphant and Stephen Jelley, Cook lost the rear of his BTC Racing Honda in the dip at the bottom of McIntyres and spun into the infield, slamming into the tyre wall and leaving his Honda Civic Type R with extensive rear end damage – calling into question whether or not he will race again today.
After the restart, Sutton held on to the lead from Turkington with a cat-and-mouse battle between the pair running to the flag. Turkington would close up in sector two in the BMW but Sutton was stronger through the hairpin and back up to the line, with the gao between the pair remaining relatively constant through to the finish.
Turkington would make a half-hearted move into the final corner but Sutton was able to cover him off as he secured the win for the third time this season.
Behind, Hill would run in third throughout to secure his second podium of the year for MB Motorsport but only after overcoming race long pressure from Tom Ingram’s Toyota.
Ingram had got ahead of Dan Cammish at the end of the opening lap when the Team Dynamics man was run wide whilst trying to make a move on Hill for third, with Rory Butcher also getting ahead of the Honda into fifth.
Cammish would spend the remainder of the race trying to get back ahead of Butcher but couldn’t make a move stick and the pair would cross the line together with seventh going to Matt Neal after he battled ahead of Aiden Moffat and then took a spot from Mike Bushell when he ran off at turn one – resulting in a pit stop for the Vauxhall to have grass removed from the front splitter.
Tom Oliphant took eighth having managed to get ahead of Moffat the same time as Neal, with the second Infiniti and Stephen Jelley’s BMW rounding out the top ten.
Aside from Cook, James Gornall and Andy Neate retired after contact behind the safety car whilst Jack Goff stopped on the green flag lap and was pushed back into the pits.