Ash Sutton secures the first victory of his BTCC title defence after keeping the BMWs at bay in race two at Knockhill.
NAPA Racing UK’s Ash Sutton has secured his first British Touring Car Championship race victory of the season after producing a vintage performance to keep the chasing BMWs at bay at Knockhill.
The defending three-time champion was in inspired form and profited from an unforced error from Jake Hill to record his first BTCC victory in Ford colours.
ROKiT MB Motorsport’s Hill was leading the race comfortably from pole position, but ran wide into the gravel on the exit of the chicane on lap 5 of the race.
Sutton duly sprinted past Hill and took the race lead, however, with the BMWs still enjoying a pace advantage, the Ford Focus driver was forced to drive the maximum to keep Hill and four-time champion Colin Turkington at bay.
Hill, once again, looked poised to snatch the lead back from Sutton, but the West Surrey Racing driver made yet another unforced at the same corner on lap 18 of the race.
That slip up allowed Turkington to sail past his team mate to slot into second position behind Sutton. However, Turkington made a rare error of his own as he ran wide at Duffers Dip just two-laps later, which gave the position back to Hill.
At this point, Sutton began to struggle more and more with the longevity of his tyres, but cleverly saved his hybrid boost to help fight off the attack from Hill.
Hill came perilously close to spoiling Sutton’s party, but the three-time champion held on by just 0.1s to record his first BTCC win for the Motorbase Performance outfit.
Turkington completed the podium order in third position, with Tom Ingram following a further three-seconds behind in fourth position.
As a result of race two, Ingram now leads the championship standings by just four-points over Turkington, while Sutton moves closer to the summit in third.
Home hero Gordon Shedden produced a determined drive to score a top-five result in fifth after getting the better of Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley earlier in the race.
Jelley also fell behind Toyota’s Rory Butcher and George Gamble. Seventh place for Gamble means the rookie will start race three from pole position after his finishing position was selected in the reverse grid draw.
NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Cammish finished in ninth for the second race in a row, while Tom Chilton completed the top-ten order in tenth.