SUTTON STARS AS TURKINGTON REACHES VICTORY MILESTONE
Colin Turkington reached a victory milestone at Brands Hatch earlier today (7 May) as he moved up to second on the all-time BTCC winners list, before Ash Sutton starred to claim a double triumph.
Team BMW star Turkington secured his 64th career victory in the opener – 20 years after claiming his first at the same venue – as he now moves past Matt Neal and behind the legendary Jason Plato in terms of race victories.
Sutton then surged to two stunning successes in the following bouts as he got the better of BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8’s Tom Ingram and Turkington in race two, before scything his way from 11th on the grid to win a dramatic and tense finale.
Sutton’s NAPA Racing UK team-mate Dan Cammish still leads the Drivers’ standings from reigning champion Ingram – both having reached the rostrum at the 1.21-mile Indy circuit – whilst Sutton and Turkington have now moved into third and fourth respectively.
Turkington takes first win of the season
Team BMW’s Turkington enjoyed his milestone moment after a near lights-to-flag victory following a restarted contest in the opener.
Just as the leaders were completing the first lap there was drama behind, which immediately brought about a red flag stoppage to proceedings.
NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Rowbottom had squeezed down the inside of Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley at Clark Curve, but contact sent the latter into the pitwall, before both cars ultimately collected the unfortunate Andrew Watson (CarStore Power Maxed Racing) and Adam Morgan (Team BMW).
Cammish couldn’t hang on from pole position at the restart as he dropped to fourth behind Turkington, Jake Hill’s Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s BMW and Sutton.
The Ford Focuses of Sutton and Cammish fought back by Hill shortly after, with the latter still trying to get heat into the tyres of his rear-wheel drive BMW.
Turkington – running the Goodyear softer option tyre – had no such problems as he held his three challengers off for the remainder of the race.
Sutton: “It’s good to be back!”
Sutton then kept reigning champion Ingram’s Hyundai i30N at bay to win his first Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the season.
The 1.21-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit – notoriously tight and challenging for all drivers – provided battles throughout the order, but it was Sutton who commanded proceedings from the outset.
Sutton snatched the lead from pole-sitter Turkington on the opening tour, but it was the fast-starting Ingram that was making waves behind.
The BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 driver was soon into third – from fifth on the grid – and he diced by Turkington’s #4 BMW 330e M Sport on the run through Surtees for the first time.
The top three positions remained unchanged until the finish, albeit with Ingram keeping Sutton honest throughout, whilst Turkington completed the podium positions.
Collard penalty promotes Sutton to victory
Sutton inherited victory in the finale due to a penalty for on-the-road winner Ricky Collard in his TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK Corolla.
The final reverse grid race saw Collard’s Toyota slip into the lead on the opening lap as he passed pole-sitter Bobby Thompson in the Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils Cupra, whilst Sutton was surging through the order from 11th on the grid.
The three-time champion made pass after pass before he eventually hauled in Collard’s machine by mid-distance.
Collard produced a spirited defence and also put his additional hybrid to good use to keep Sutton behind, before multiple track limit infringements incurred a ten second time penalty from the race stewards.
Sutton secured the win, whilst Thompson grabbed a career-best second place ahead of reigning champ Ingram.
Colin Turkington said: “I don’t think I’m going to catch Jason [Plato] on wins, but it’s a great achievement and a good way to get the first win of the season!
“The first race went according to plan really, I could get my head down and there was nobody in front so I could go as fast as I could. Saw that Ash [Sutton] was pulling me in a bit on laps 4, 5, and 6, but then I started to eek away again. The BMW has always been really strong around Brands Indy in particular, so it’s a good reward for Team BMW.
“We didn’t quite have the pace to win the next one, but we were back on the harder tyre and we had less hybrid, so you have to remember that podiums and points can win you championships.”
Ash Sutton said: “It’s good to be back! The car was nice in Race 1 but that was mega. We made a handful of changes between Race 1 and 2 and the car was just leaps and bounds, miles better.
“We were just managing the tyre, managing the gap. Tom [Ingram] got close at one point and a few little sweats came out but it was a case of just knuckling down. We knew we had the tyre at the end and had to use that. I’m just over the moon – the car was mega!
“NAPA Racing UK have done such a good job with this car. I think it’s clear from everyone we’ve just dialled in on the chassis and made improvements and it’s singing at the moment. I couldn’t ask for a better weekend – a second and two wins! Looking forward to Snetterton.”
As noted, Cammish leads the Drivers’ standings from Ingram, Sutton and Turkington, whilst the same Motorbase/NAPA Racing UK outfit tops both the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ tables.
Thompson and Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils hold the advantage in the Independent Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships, whilst Sam Osborne is the best of the Jack Sears Trophy runners.
Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Snetterton on 20/21 May.
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Brands Hatch Indy
1. Colin Turkington, Team BMW 18 Laps
2. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK +1.335s
3. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +1.716s
4. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +5.712s
5. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +9.952s
6. Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +11.010s
7. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +11.779s
8. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +14.125s
9. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +14.634s
10. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +16.652s
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 2 – Brands Hatch Indy
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 24 Laps
2. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +0.933s
3. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +3.405s
4. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +6.859s
5. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +10.598s
6. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +12.383s
7. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +13.912s
8. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +14.238s
9. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +14.350s
10. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +14.668s
2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Brands Hatch Indy
1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 24 Laps
2. Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +0.948s
3. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +5.901s
4. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +7.623s
5. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +8.457s
6. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +9.507s
7. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +9.682s
8. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +9.800s
9. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +10.680s
10. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +11.677s
Round 4: Dan Rowbottom was officially reprimanded for an incident involving Stephen Jelley.
Round 5: Sam Osborne received a 0.5 second penalty for Round 5, for obtaining an unfair advantage (whether inadvertently or not) from an incident with Ricky Collard.
Will Powell received a 5 second penalty for Round 4, for obtaining an unfair advantage (whether inadvertently or not) from an incident Andrew Watson.
Round 6: Ricky Collard received a 10 second in-race penalty for multiple track infringements.