Ash Sutton holds off charging Jake Hill to take race one
Ash Sutton held off the late challenge of a charging Jake Hill to secure victory in the opening BTCC race of the weekend at Snetterton.
Sutton had elected to run the medium compound tyre at the first possible opportunity despite seeing his rivals behind all go with the soft rubber – which was expected to be the quickest of the three available.
The multiple champion got away well to lead the way into Riches at the start, helped by the fact that Ingram was slow off the line – allowing the BMWs of Colin Turkington and Hill to get ahead.
Ingram tried to fight back at the hairpin but found himself on the outside line, which allowed Ricky Collard and Adam Morgan to both get head as the defending champion was demoted back to sixth spot.
As Sutton built an early lead at the start, Ingram was on a recovery drive, clearing Morgan into Agostini on lap two and then slipping up the inside of Collard going into turn one a lap later to get back up into the top four.
Ingram was then able to close in on Turkington and Hill as they squabbled over second spot, with Hill trying a move without success at the hairpin on lap six which allowed the Hyundai to close onto the rear of the pair.
The fight for second came to a head on lap nine as Hill drew alongside going down the back straight, taking to the grass in order to gain the inside line on Turkington going into the second part of the chicane.
Once through, Hill set off after the leader and rocketed up the rear of Sutton in a matter of laps to suddenly put the Focus under pressure for the final tour. Hill however didn’t manage to close enough to make a move for position, with Sutton holding on for the victory.
Hill would cross the line just two-tenths of a second behind, with Turkington fending off Ingram – who set the fastest lap – to take P3.
Collard ran in fifth spot until a water pump issue saw him pull off track on lap five, moving Morgan up a spot. He would hold station to the finish to take the place ahead of team-mate Stephen Jelley – who worked his way up from tenth at the end of the opening lap to finish right on Morgan’s tail in sixth.
Dan Rowbottom, Josh Cook, Rory Butcher and Aron Taylor-Smith rounded out the top ten.
Dan Cammish put in an impressive drive on the least favourable hard compound tyre to come through from the back of the grid to finish just outside the top ten, although there was disappointment for Tom Chilton as he went the other way – suffering an issue off the line that dropped him right to the back and left him back in 24th spot.