ROCKINGHAM SUBARU RACE REPORT
Ash Sutton moved to the top of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after another successful weekend saw him win his sixth race of the season.
The aim for Rockingham was to score as many points as possible and Saturday showed us that in the BTCC you never quite know what’s going to happen, as Sutton’s Subaru team mate James Cole claimed his first ever pole in qualifying after putting in a storming lap just at the right time.
Ash and Jason struggled with their weighted cars but dug deep to set two very impressive lap times to set up an exciting day of racing.
Cole got off to a flyer in the first of the three races handing off Eurotech Racing Honda driver Jack Goff in the opening stages.
James was rarely troubled after that and slowly begun extending his lead during the race. However, on the final lap his fellow Subaru driver Sutton made a move from third position giving Adrian Flux Subaru an impressive one-two finish.
After a poor start to Race Two it didn’t take the 23-year-old long get up to speed and leapfrog Cole in to first position. Sutton never looked back and built up a magnificent three second lead out in front however his team mate struggled to recreate his earlier form and tumbled down the order.
The positions for Race Three were decided by the reverse grid draw made by Series Director Alan Gow who pulled number seven from the bowl placing the BMW of Andrew Jordan on pole position.
For the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing drivers, it meant that Jason Plato would start from fourth, with Ash seventh and James thirteenth.
The latter two were both caught up in traffic on the opening lap and were forced to go wide across the grass but thankfully both cars managed to get back on the track without damage, albeit losing positions in the process.
Drama in the final stages of the race saw a collision between Rob Collard and Jack Goff which enabled Jason to take full advantage and move past Goff into third.
Plato managed to hold on to his position until the checkered flag making it the teams fourth podium of the day.
Speaking on the weekend Ash Sutton said: “I’m very very pleased. Race One went to plan, especially for James, that was a particularly great result for him and to get a one-two finish was good.
“Race Two was a case of just get out of there and it was great to get another solid result, to pick up really strong points and the fastest lap was what we needed.
"Race Three however was a bit more of a challenge with dropping back to eleventh it wasn’t quite as easy to come back from there but we stayed out of trouble and to top it off we overtook Turkington which was the main aim.
“Thoughts for Silverstone are that it’s going to get difficult but I’ve got a few things that I want to try in qualifying but carrying seventy-five kilos round there is going to hurt so we will see.”
During the weekend, Adrian Flux Subaru gained two race wins, a second place and a third place backed up with three manufacturer wins for Subaru UK and the Team trophy for the weekend.
Ash now leaves Rockingham leading the Drivers Championship with a 12-point margin. Subaru are second in the Manufacturers standings a mere 41 one points behind BMW, with Adrian Flux Subaru Racing second in the Teams standings 96 points behind Team BMW. Josh remains fourth in the Jack Sears Trophy standings for rookie drivers.
There are now just six races left in the Championship and the next event is at Silverstone in three weeks time.