Photo: PSP Images

Ash Sutton: “It’s a lovely gap to take to the finale”

Ash Sutton insists that a 32 point lead is a ‘lovely gap’ after the Laser Tools Racing driver retained his advantage at the head of the BTCC standings at Donington Park.

Sutton carried a lead of 36 points into the weekend and managed to haul the ballast heavy Infiniti into Q2 to secure ninth on the grid for the opening race, where he fought his way to seventh place – scoring the fastest lap in the process.

The early stages of race two however saw the #1 Infiniti shuffled back down the order to tenth spot before he recovered his way back through to seventh – grabbing three further spots when Colin Turkington suffered a spin at the Old Hairpin and the pack was forced to take avoiding action.

A small error at the start of the final race saw title rival Tom Ingram nip ahead on the opening lap and Sutton would then find himself caught up behind the Hyundai until finally finding a way through on lap eight.

With the pack ahead having built too much of an advantage to close the gap, Sutton had to settle for eighth place but that still leaves him with a handy lead in the points to take into the season finale at Brands Hatch ahead of Colin Turkington and Ingram.

“When you consider there are 67 points available, we’ve got almost half of that in our back pocket which is a nice position to be in,” he said. “However, it only needs one bad race at Brands Hatch and that could all change, so we have to go there and aim to qualify well, and then see how it goes from there.

“Today has been a day where I had to become a bit of a punchbag, particularly in the second race where people were putting moves on and I had to let it happen and play the long game. We recovered to grab P4 there so it showed that it was the right approach to take, and the whole day has been about that.

“Race three was a bit tricky when I had Tom backing me up but in recent events we’ve shown the respect that drivers should have for each other when we’ve been together on track and it’s nice to be involved in a title battle with someone like that.

“We’re in the best place for Brands Hatch and I’ll adopt the same approach that I’ve taken in recent meetings, which is to go there and bag the points.”