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BTCC Snetterton: Sutton in control to take finale win ahead of Plato

Three-time and reigning champion Sutton was drawn on reversed-grid pole position and, after appearing to get a strong initial launch in his Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus, he seemed to bog down and that allowed Dan Rowbottom to sweep into the lead.

But then Rowbottom ran a little too hot into the Agostini left-hander, and the Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R driver was unable to prevent Sutton getting a run on him and claiming the lead into the following Hamilton bend.

Into the next turn, the tight right-hander at Oggie’s, veteran Jason Plato also made an opportunist move to get his BTC Racing Honda down the inside, slight contact being made as Plato made his way into second position.

Plato, in his landmark 650th BTCC start, put pressure on Sutton in the early stages, but by the fourth lap the Ford had eked the gap out to over a second.

Plato now had to run some laps without hybrid to stay within his allocation, allowing the leader to get away, and at the end of the 12-lap race Sutton breezed to the flag to take his second win of the season by 4.556s.

“It’s mega,” said Sutton. “If I’m honest we had exactly the same settings on the car as race two, but damage in that one put the alignment out.

“If I’d had that car in race two it could have been a different story.

“We set up the car for a long race and she was a bit lively but consistent – Jason got close, but I put my head down and set some quali laps to pull away.”

Jason Plato, Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Rowbottom found himself without hybrid, an affliction that coincidentally also stymied team-mate Gordon Shedden’s freshly engined car following its retirement from race two.

Rowbottom stayed in third position for four laps, before Ricky Collard managed to battle his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla ahead, and Tom Ingram also took advantage to sneak into fourth.

Ingram’s Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N stayed glued to the rear bumper of Collard until the last lap, when he pulled off a superb cutback manoeuvre out of Agostini to grab the position into Hamilton.

But Collard wasn’t finished – he saw a chink of light on the inside of the Hyundai into Oggie’s, dived in to fill it, and barged Ingram wide onto the dust and marbles to reclaim the final podium spot.

The Toyota driver was then give a one-second penalty for the manoeuvre, relegating him to fourth and promoting Ingram to complete a hat-trick of third places on the day.

While Rowbottom went into freefall down to an eventual 10th place, Jake Hill and Colin Turkington came through to complete an excellent day for the West Surrey Racing squad – following their pair of 1-2 finishes earlier on, they claimed fifth (Hill) and sixth (Turkington) in their BMW 330e M Sports.

A heavy clash at the esses with the Speedworks Toyota of Rory Butcher dropped third WSR BMW contender Stephen Jelley out of the frame, and Butcher went on to take seventh from Adam Morgan’s Ciceley Motorsport BMW.

The last driver to pass Rowbottom, who just fended off the BTC Honda of Josh Cook at the finish, was Ollie Jackson, who moved his Motorbase Ford up to ninth on the last lap.

BTCC Snetterton - Race 3 results

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Ashley Sutton 12 23'51.491    
2 United Kingdom Jason Plato 12 23'56.047 4.556 4.556
3 United Kingdom Tom Ingram 12 23'58.754 7.263 2.707
4 United Kingdom Ricky Collard 12 23'58.966 7.475 0.212
5 United Kingdom Jake Hill 12 24'00.168 8.677 1.202
6 United Kingdom Colin Turkington 12 24'00.565 9.074 0.397
7 United Kingdom Rory Butcher 12 24'03.585 12.094 3.020
8 United Kingdom Adam Morgan 12 24'03.835 12.344 0.250
9 United Kingdom Ollie Jackson 12 24'06.754 15.263 2.919
10 United Kingdom Daniel Rowbottom 12 24'07.042 15.551 0.288
11 United Kingdom Josh Cook 12 24'07.438 15.947 0.396
12 United Kingdom Daniel Lloyd 12 24'07.857 16.366 0.419
13 George Gamble 12 24'08.403 16.912 0.546
14 Bobby Thompson 12 24'08.847 17.356 0.444
15 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden 12 24'09.306 17.815 0.459
16 United Kingdom Dan Cammish 12 24'10.396 18.905 1.090
17 United Kingdom Aiden Moffat 12 24'11.117 19.626 0.721
18 Michael Crees 12 24'13.712 22.221 2.595
19 Dexter Patterson 12 24'14.181 22.690 0.469
20 United Kingdom Sam Osborne 12 24'16.383 24.892 2.202
21 United Kingdom Stephen Jelley 12 24'19.452 27.961 3.069
22 Ireland Aron Taylor-Smith 12 24'25.897 34.406 6.445
23 Jade Edwards 12 24'27.002 35.511 1.105
24 Will Powell 12 25'37.105 1'45.614 1'10.103
  Jersey Jack Butel 5 10'13.882 7 Laps 7 Laps
  United Kingdom Ash Hand 4 8'08.263 8 Laps 1 Lap
  Nicolas Hamilton 0      
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