Photo: PSP Images

Ash Sutton edges closer to fourth title with Silverstone recovery

Ash Sutton moved a few steps closer to a record-equalling fourth BTCC title after a topsy-turvy race day at Silverstone saw him extend his lead over Tom Ingram to 45 points.

Sutton had qualified behind his rival for the opening race of the weekend, where both drivers would fail to score after gambling on staying on slick tyres at the start with rain falling.

Ending up outside the top 20 after stopping to change to wet tyres, Sutton was down in 23rd on the grid but, aided by a mid-race safety car, he was able to charge through the field to secure an astonishing tenth victory of the campaign.

Although Ingram was able to finish ahead of Sutton in the final race of the weekend, third place there for the NAPA Racing UK man ensured a handy lead going into the season finale where the pair are the only two drivers who can still be crowned champion.

“Today we’ve been copying what Tom was doing, even if it was wrong,” he said. “On the grid for race one I made the call to say we should be on wets but when our main rival was on slicks, we stuck with what we’d said in meeting we’d had before the race to mirror him.

“It didn’t pay off – although it didn’t for him either – but it did bring Jake into it going into race two. I expected it to be tough but we’d made some changes overnight and the car was mega. I fought up to the top eight and then the safety car came out, and I thought to myself ‘hang on, it could be interesting now’. With some hybrid to play with and Jake out of the way after his issues, I went forwards with a number of calculated moves and maximising the hybrid.

“Going to Brands Hatch, we’ve got to survive race one and get some nice points, and then see where we are in race two. If it goes to race three then so be it, but we’ve got 45 points in hand and if we need to sacrifice some places, then so be it.”