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Marcus Simmons

BTCC Brands Hatch: Sutton wins again from Ingram

Sutton got a good getaway, certainly compared to front-row partner Tom Ingram, and was able to lead from lights to flag.

Ingram clung on to second, and from then on, as in the earlier race, his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N was the only threat to the NAPA-liveried Alliance Racing Ford Focus ST of Sutton.

The race didn’t really get going until after an early safety car.

Colin Turkington made a good launch from fourth on the grid in his West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport, but appeared to have his path blocked by Ingram and instead ran side by side for third with Bobby Thompson’s Team Hard Cupra Leon.

Dan Cammish, in the second of the Alliance Fords, also had a look down the inside of Turkington at Druids. There was minor contact, Turkington slowed dramatically, and he was hit by Ronan Pearson’s Excelr8 Hyundai, which in turn was collected by Michael Crees’s Hard Cupra.

From the restart, Sutton set fastest lap straight away to extend a 0.993 seconds advantage over Ingram. This then oscillated around 1.5s for most of the race until the safety car appeared again late on.

Sam Osborne (Alliance Ford) and BTCC returnee James Gornall (Hard Cupra) made contact as they ran side by side down the pit straight, and Osborne slewed across Gornall and went heavily into the tyre wall at Paddock Hill Bend.

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

There was time for just one more lap of racing. Ingram had hybrid available, Sutton didn’t, but the Hyundai was no threat and the new four-time champion won by 0.703s.

“That was good fun,” said Sutton. “It was nice not to have any pressure – just to go and do what we can do.

“Tom is a tough old dog so that was hard.”

While Sutton and Ingram were running the medium tyres in this race, so was Thompson, and his Cupra immediately came under attack from the soft-shod Cammish at the first restart.

Cammish made the move count at Druids, and as the race wore on he closed almost to within striking distance of Ingram before the safety car appeared again.

With Cammish ahead of him, Thompson was now under attack from Ricky Collard, whose Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla went through into Hawthorns on the following lap.

Jake Hill, at the wheel of his WSR BMW, took advantage to follow Collard through at Dingle Dell, but the Toyota man held on for fourth.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Hill looked set for fifth but slowed on the run to the finish line, and was pipped by Thompson.

Josh Cook (One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R), Dan Rowbottom (Alliance Ford) and Stephen Jelley (WSR BMW) had all been in a train behind Thompson, and finished in this order from seventh downwards – Jelley took reversed-grid pole position.

George Gamble was quite close to this bunch in his Speedworks Toyota before being given a black-and-orange flag, so it was the Hard Cupra of Dan Lloyd that completed the top 10.

Andrew Watson did what he needed to in order to secure the Jack Sears Trophy – he sustained damage early on to his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra but finished the race to put the title out of reach of Osborne and team-mate Mikey Doble.

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