Ashley Sutton won here in 2016 too and makes it two wins for 2017
(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
Ashley Sutton drove a superb defensive drive to beat Colin Turkington in the first race of the day at Croft.
Thankfully the conditions were dry after yesterday’s horrendous conditions however this did not stop the action from being any less spectacular with overtakes and contact aplenty up and down the order.
Following the amended grid it was Sutton who started from pole with Turkington alongside and it was these two who got the best start and quickly developed a lead over the chasing pack, which was fronted by the Motorbase Ford Focus of Mat Jackson with series leader Shedden behind in fourth.
The first retirement came of lap three though as contact at the hairpin resulted in Matt Neal receiving a right rear puncture and possible suspension damage, ensuring his charge for a fourth BTCC title took yet another blow.
Three laps later, and another Honda Civic was in trouble, this time it was Matt Simpson’s turn to suffer damage as he clipped the tyres at the chicane, ripping the front left corner off his car.
At the front however Sutton and Turkington continued to gap the rest of the field with their lead increasing to two seconds by lap 10. Behind though, Sutton’s teammates were having great races. Despite running wide on the first lap which saw him drop to 27th place, Jason Plato was on a charge, and was up into the top 15 while Josh Price and James Cole were fifth and seventh respectively.
Sadly the strong positions would come to nothing for Price and Cole as the duo collided at the hairpin on lap 11, as Price spun and collected his teammate. Price retired almost immediately, having been able to limp his car back to the pits whereas Cole came into the pits a lap later with damage.
All this promoted Rob Collard, Josh Cook and Tom Ingram up the order as Sutton and Turkington continued to battle for the lead.
For the entire race they were neck and neck with Sutton being able to hold on to take his second victory of the season ahead of former Team BMR driver Turkington with Jackson a distant third. Rob Collard was able to jump Shedden on the final lap for fourth, with the Scotsman fifth and Andrew Jordan sixth.
Josh Cook finished an impressive seventh in his first race back with MG as Tom Ingram, Chilton and Jason Plato rounded out the top 10.