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Ash Sutton wins at Snetterton to close in on BTCC title lead

Sunday, July 30 2017

Ashley Sutton won his third race of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Snetterton today (Sunday), closing to within two points of the title lead in a dramatic race that saw the lead change twice and action throughout the field.

At the start, Colin Turkingtoin made a textbook getaway to lead into Riches whilst Jack Goff held off the chasing Ash Sutton, Matt Neal and Tom Ingram. Neal was forced to go defensive, holding up the rest of the field through the infield section. Into the esses later in the lap, Jordan lost out to Austin and then Morgan and as the pack entered the second lap, Goff was harassing Turkington for the lead.

Early casualties included rookie Brett Smith and Mat Jackson, who was elbowed out at Agostini by Dave Newsham on the second lap. Meanwhile Neal was having to continue his rear guard action, and this left the top three able to pull clear, but Sutton didn't appear to be able to attack the leaders at this stage of the race.

Approaching the halfway stage the top ten cleared the rest of the field and three distinct groups began to form; the podium runners, then Neal defending from Ingram, Morgan and Austin, and finally Jordan attempting to hold off Jason Plato and Jake Hill.

On lap five Turkington spun at Bob Hole, and resumed in 11th place. As this happened, title leader Gordon Shedden was working his way into the points. There was even more drama as Ingram and Austin tangled on the infield section, with just Ingram resuming behind Turkington at the tail end of the top ten, whilst Morgan retired at the same time.

With the complexion of the race altered within the space of a lap, the soft-tyred Goff was now in the lead, but being slowly caught by Sutton, with Neal (also on softs) still keeping an eye on his mirrors, this time from the rear-wheel drive cars of Jordan and Plato (soft), followed by Hill, erstwhile leader Turkington (soft), Ingram, Collard and Tom Chilton (soft).

With two laps to go, Sutton was on Goff's tail and the pole-sitter was having to switch to defensive driving. Sutton decisively made his move into Hamilton and whilst Goff had a look into Oggies, he was on the wrong line for the corner. Once past, the Subaru began to pull away enough to stay out of reach, with just a lap-and-a-half for the Subaru driver to go.

With the lead battle settled, attention turned to third place, with Neal coming under increasing pressure from Jordan and Plato. The Honda driver held on, however, to complete the podium. The rest of the top ten remained in the same order, whilst Shedden finished 13th after a tangle with Aiden Moffat on the final lap. This means that Sutton is now just two points off Shedden's title lead heading into race two, which takes place at 14:07.

Remarking on Turkington's rare mistake, Sutton said: "It's not an error we expected but it played into both our hands. It was just a case of sitting tight and waiting for the softs to go away. You can't take it away from Jack, he did a sterling job yesterday and I questioned if I'd be able to get him."

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race one

1, Ashley Sutton, Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, Subaru Levorg, 12 Laps
2, Jack Goff, Eurotech Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +2.332s
3, Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type, +6.707s
4, Andrew Jordan, BMW Pirtek Racing, BMW 125i M-Sport, +6.916s
5, Jason Plato, Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, Subaru Levorg , +7.743s
6, Jake Hill, TAG Racing, Volkswagen CC, +12.145s
7, Colin Turkington, Team BMW, BMW 125i M-Sport, +12.378s
8, Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, +19.459s
9, Robert Collard, Team BMW, BMW 125i M-Sport, +22.446s
10, Tom Chilton, Power Maxed Racing, Vauxhall Astra, +22.792s

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship standings after 16 of 30 rounds

1, Gordon Shedden, 191
2, Ashley Sutton, 189
3, Colin Turkington, 187
4, Robert Collard, 184
5, Matt Neal, 150
6, Tom Ingram, 148

Raceday tickets for the BTCC at Snetterton are available on the gate for £34 on, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.