Ashley Sutton took victory in Round 23 of the British Touring Car Championship with a strong performance, extending his championship lead over Colin Turkington to 10 points. The Adrian Flux Subaru Racing man got off to an average start, but on the long banking around to the Dean Hairpin, the Subaru held off the Eurotech Honda of Jack Goff, and went around the outside of the very early-braking polesitter, and Sutton’s team mate James Cole. Sutton then made his break away while Cole was struggling with maximum ballast in P2, holding up the pack on the opening laps. Cole would eventually be passed by the following pack, and would fall to finish P13 by the end of the race.
Many eyes were focused on those at the back of the grid, to see how much progress could be made by the drivers in the final three spots on the grid, Gordon Shedden, Rob Austin and Tom Ingram (30th, 31st and 32nd respectively). Ingram proved to be worth watching, as the Speedworks Motorsport driver made arguably the best drive of the second race, by making up 23 places to finish in 9th place, including a good scrap with BTC Norlin’s Chris Smiley, eventually taking Smiley’s 9th place on the final lap.
Shedden and Austin would not have as much enjoyment in race 2, however. After initially both making similar progress as Ingram, they would make contact on the 2nd apex of the Dean Hairpin which would break the front right corner of the Honda, caused the triple champion to retire, and bringing out the safety car. Austin would finish a lap down following that contact. The ensuing safety car would destroy Ash Sutton’s lead.
All eyes were on Josh Cook on the restart to see if he could challenge the championship leader, who was running the lesser preferred option tyre, whilst Cook was running the preferred Dunlop rubber. However, on the restart, Cook would lose touch with Sutton as he was having to defend from the Shredded Wheat Focus of Mat Jackson. Jackson would make his move into the Dean Hairpin, and looked like he had the place secure. Cook had other ideas. Having been forced out wide on the exit of Dean, the MG would go back up the inside into the next right hander, tagging the rear of the yellow Focus, and causing both to lose a lot of time, and allowing the Halfords Yuasa Civic Type-R of Matt Neal to buy into this scrap, taking 3rd, behind Cook and ahead of Jackson. This change would end in disaster for both Cook and Neal, as on the run down to the Dean hairpin, Neal would try a long range lunge down the inside of Cook’s MG. The two would make contact and would result in both going straight on the hairpin, and dropping them both right down the order. A couple of laps later, Matt Simpson would end up in the gravel on the exit of Dean after contact with Knockhill debutante and replacement for the injured Luke Davenport, Rory Butcher. This would be the second of the Dynamics Honda’s to retire, and with Matt Neal retiring 7 laps from home, it would cap off a catastrophic race for the works Hondas.
The other man on the move was the Wiley old fox Jason Plato, who after starting in tenth place, would make a strong surge through the sharp end of the field to finish in fourth, making some impressive overtakes along the way. Also a mention goes to Chris Smiley, getting his best result of the season finishing in 10th place.
TOCA Series Director Alan Gowe made the draw for the Reverse grid for Round 24, drawing number 7, which corresponded to the BMW Pirtek Racing machine of Andrew Jordan, who will start on pole position for the final of the three races at Rockingham Motor Speedway. Alongside him on the front row of the grid will be Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan, who finished 6th in the previous race. Morgan will be enjoying his time at Rockingham and being back amongst the sharp end of the field after a succession of poor events, having not had a strong meeting since Thruxton, back at the start of May.
Round 24 of the Championship will be at approximately 4:45pm. Live on ITV4, itv.com, ITV Player and btcc.net. L&T Motorsport will be providing live text commentary on twitter.
Classification for Round 23 of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship:
- Ashley Sutton (H) – Adrian Flux Subaru Racing (18 Laps – 26.57.861)
- Mat Jackson – Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo (+2.438)
- Colin Turkington (H) – Team BMW (+2.730)
- Jason Plato (H) – Adrian Flux Subaru Racing (+7.110)
- Jack Goff (H) – Eurotech Racing (+9.513)
- Adam Morgan (H) – Ciceley Motorsport (+10.101)
- Andrew Jordan – BMW Pirtek Racing (+10.569)
- Rob Collard – Team BMW (+10.756)
- Tom Ingram – Speedworks Motorsport (+14.802)
- Chris Smiley – BTC Norlin Racing (+15.349)
- Senna Proctor (R) – Power Maxed Racing +(15.913)
- Ollie Jackson – AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts (+18.138)
- James Cole (H) – Adrian Flux Subaru Racing (+18.466)
- Aiden Moffat – Laser Tools Racing (+19.262)
- Aron Taylor-Smith – MG Racing RCIB Insurance (+20.029)
- Tom Chilton – Power Maxed Racing (+20.261)
- Jake Hill – TAG Racing (+21.624)
- Ant Whorton-Eales (R) – AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts (+22.278)
- Rory Butcher (R) – Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo (+23.389)
- Martin Depper – Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo (+24.479)
- Will Burns (R)(H) – Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing (+29.679)
- Stephen Jelley (H) – Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport (+30.884)
- Dave Newsham – BTC Norlin Racing (+31.330)
- Brett Smith (R) – Eurotech Racing (+35.011)
- Stewart Lines (H) – Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport (+43.605)
- Rob Austin – Handy Motorsport (+ 1 Lap)
- Mike Epps – Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing (+3 Laps)
- Josh Cook – MG Racing RCIB Insurance (+5 Laps)
- Matt Neal – Halfords Yuasa Racing (+7 Laps)
- Matt Simpson – Simpson Racing (+9 Laps)
- Gordon Shedden – Halfords Yuasa Racing (+16 Laps)
- Josh Price (R) (H) – Adrian Flux Subaru Racing (+17 Laps)