Ashley Sutton left Brands Hatch at the end of this past weekend feeling pleased after kicking off the defence of the his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title with a solid haul of points.
The Adrian Flux Subaru Racing driver had expected to struggle after enduring truncated winter with little testing, but finished the 2018 curtain-raiser sitting fifth in the standings.
Charging from P18 to seventh in race one, the Subaru Levorg racer found himself in a similar position as those around him in race two as he struggled with wet tyres on a drying track. Running as high as third at one stage, Sutton was powerless as those on slicks made their move and he ultimately crossed the line in P12.
Bouncing back to score fourth place in the reverse grid encounter, the 24-year-old was left relatively upbeat having bettered his performance from the corresponding round last year.
“I can’t complain after that,” Sutton told BTCC Crazy at the end of race day. “Due to the lack of testing we have had in pre-season I came here expecting to be happy top 15’s; so to come away with points in all three races and be fifth in the points is good. We’re in a better position than this time last year.
“We are just finding our feet and we know what direction we want to go with the car. The wet conditions certainly helped us this weekend and we did our best to make the most of them.
“I had some good door-to-door battles, some with people I haven’t necessarily raced with too much in the past which was nice. Had the wet tyres hung on in race two then we could have come away with some silverware but it wasn’t to be.
“We come away from here with some good data and we will go back to base and pour through it to make sure we make progress at Donington Park.
“I said at the start of the weekend that I wanted to come away from here in better shape than I did last year, where I didn’t score any points. We’ve done that so it is onto the next one.”
Sutton is set to join a majority of the grid at Thruxton this coming Thursday (April 12) for the annual TOCA test.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography