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Monday, December 11, 2023

Sutton beats Ingram to say fourth title

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Sutton equalled the file of 4 titles held by Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington, and have become the primary driver in historical past to scoop the BTCC crown in rear and front-wheel-drive equipment.

The Alliance Racing Ford Focus ST star needed to endure a nervy end although – a late security automotive left Sutton trying weak to assault from the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of Ingram, who nonetheless had a lap of hybrid increase obtainable to Sutton’s zero.

There have been two laps of green-flag racing to the chequered flag, and Ingram had a sniff on the NAPA-liveried Ford into Surtees on the primary of these.

Ingram saved his hybrid till the ultimate tour, however had run out of tyre grip and Sutton held on to take the flag by 0.603 seconds.

Poleman Sutton additionally had a problem in the beginning from fellow front-row starter Rory Butcher in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla.

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Butcher held on across the outdoors at Paddock Hill Bend and Druids, permitting Ingram to sneak up the within and, together with his shorter line, demote the Scot to second.

Ingram even had a stab at Sutton into Surtees, however the chief set quickest lap of the race on the second tour, and he and Ingram put an enormous quantity of daylight between themselves and the remainder.

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Sutton had the hole at over a second by the third lap, and it typically hovered between 1s and 1.5s till that late security automotive.

This was prompted when Mikey Doble, the Jack Sears Trophy title contender working eighth in his Energy Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, obtained a whack from Stephen Jelley’s West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport into Stirlings and plunged headlong into the barrier.

“It’s a large aid,” mentioned Sutton. “As a lot as we knew we had an enormous factors hole, Tom was proper when he mentioned it was ours to lose.

“The automotive was completely mega and I can’t thank the group sufficient.

“The particular bit is to be the primary to take it with rear and front-wheel drive. That’s the one for me, as a result of I don’t plan to go away it at 4 titles.”

Whereas the main duo had been in a race of their very own, there was a ferocious combat for third between Butcher and the Workforce Exhausting Cupra Leon of Bobby Thompson.

Like Sutton and Ingram, Thompson had opted for tender Goodyear tyres for this race whereas many of the area – together with Butcher – had been on mediums.

Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils Cupra Leon

Bobby Thompson, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils Cupra Leon

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

On the fifth lap, Thompson chiselled a spot on the within of Surtees to wrest the place, however then Butcher dived down the within at Hawthorns, and the duo ran aspect by aspect by means of Westfield and into Sheene Curve, the place contact put Thompson briefly onto the grass.

This introduced the battle behind between Dan Rowbottom (Alliance Ford), the WSR BMWs of Jake Hill and Colin Turkington, plus Dan Cammish’s Alliance Ford into the image, earlier than Butcher and Thompson sprinted away once more.

Three laps later, a left-front puncture – which seemed to be fully unrelated to the sooner brush with Thompson – despatched Butcher off beam at Sheene, and he was compelled to the pits for a brand new tyre earlier than rejoining a lap down.

Turkington, the opposite of the main contenders on tender tyres, had moved as much as fourth by the security automotive, however Thompson held on for a wonderful podium end within the Cupra.

Rowbottom’s stout defensive job all through the race was lastly cracked on the final lap, when Cammish and Hill snuck by means of for fifth and sixth respectively.

Jelley was eighth, with Ricky Collard (Speedworks Toyota) and Adam Morgan (WSR BMW) finishing the highest 10.

Doble’s shunt means PMR Vauxhall team-mate Andrew Watson has one hand on the Jack Sears Trophy title, now 37 factors away from Alliance Ford racer Sam Osborne and 38 forward of Doble.

BTCC Manufacturers Hatch – Race 1 report

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