Ash Sutton stars with memorable Snetterton double as Gordon Shedden regains top spot after winning final thriller
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing star Ash Sutton secured a memorable double BTCC victory at Snetterton on Sunday (30 July), before Gordon Shedden fought back with a victory of his own in the final encounter.
Two imperious drives from Sutton included a fight from third on the grid to win the opener, whilst his second success was a dominant lights-to-flag performance.
The first race commenced with Colin Turkington’s front-row-starting BMW 125i M Sport making its customary quick getaway, and the Northern Irishman was immediately by pole-sitter Jack Goff on the run down to Riches.
An uncharacteristic mistake from Turkington, however, saw him spinning out of race-winning contention, which had seemingly handed Goff his chance to claim victory.
Sutton eyed his opportunity when the pace of Goff’s Honda began to fade late on, and the pair eventually ran side-by-side on the drive down to Oggies corner with only two laps remaining.
Sutton completed the move and he went on to take his third win of the season – further building his championship challenging momentum.
Eurotech Racing’s Goff held second, whilst Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal took an extremely hard-earned podium position, as he fended off Andrew Jordan’s BMW and Jason Plato’s Subaru.
Sutton produced another dominant drive in the second bout as he secured a lights-to-flag victory.
The race one winner defended from Goff’s Honda and Jordan’s BMW on the opening lap, but from there it was all Sutton. The Subaru Levorg gradually pulled away from the chasing pack and was more than six seconds clear in the latter stages.
The 23-year-old cruised through the final laps to take the chequered flag and with it, the championship lead.
Goff and Jordan couldn’t hang on in their pursuit for a spot on the rostrum, as Team BMW duo, Turkington and Rob Collard , sealed podium finishes following an eye-catching intra-team battle.
Shedden then snatched victory in the finale after long-time leader Jordan endured late heartache when an electrical problem struck his BMW.
The BMW Pirtek Racing driver had taken the lead from pole-sitter James Cole off the line, but soon had to contend with the fellow BMWs of Turkington and Collard, as well as reigning champion Shedden.
When the dust settled behind Jordan, it was Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R in second, after he had swapped positions with Collard’s BMW 125i M Sport.
The hugely experienced trio then kept Jordan honest throughout the contest, but the 2013 champion seemed certain to claim victory and reignite his title challenge.
It wasn’t to be, however, as his car slowed without warning on lap 11. Shedden and the other BMWs flew past and a desolate Jordan limped home to finish a cruel and lowly 21st.
In the final two laps it was more of a question as to who would finish second, with Collard and Turkington squabbling in their Bavarian machines allowing Shedden to take the chequered flag in relative comfort.
Despite this having been a challenging weekend for the Scotsman, the victory saw him return to the championship summit. Shedden now leads Turkington by two points in the overall Drivers’ standings with Collard a further two points in arrears.
Sutton’s day ended in slight disappointment when a collision forced him out of the final race, but his stellar display overall leaves him just 11 points off the top of the table.
BMW and Team BMW lead the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ tables respectively.
Tom Ingram tops the Independent Drivers’ order, whilst Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo holds an advantage in the Independent Teams’ championship.
Will Burns won the Jack Sears Trophy at Snetterton, although Senna Proctor maintained his position as the top rookie overall.
The series returns in two weeks’ time (12-13 August) for its annual visit to Scotland at the tight and twisty Knockhill circuit.