It was a difficult weekend on the track for the MG Triple Eight Racing team as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) returned after its mid-season break at Snetterton.
Despite claiming victories in each of the last four years at the Norfolk circuit, neither driver were able to build on the success at Croft last time out when Ashley Sutton claimed the team’s first win of the season, and his first ever BTCC victory.
It was Sutton who qualified the better on Saturday, claiming the eighth fastest lap. Teammate, Josh Cook, was to start Sunday’s first race from 12th.
Their fortunes were only to get worse, starting in race one, as both drivers suffered punctures and all-but ending their chances of a decent points haul for the weekend. After visits to the pit lanes to change tyres, Sutton crossed the line in 25th, while Cook came home 26th. Colin Turkington took the race victory after a race-long battle with pole-sitter, Gordon Sheddon.
While Cook managed to make decent in-roads with an excellent drive in race two to finish 13th, Sutton’s race, again, didn’t go to plan. He was involved in a race-ending collision after finding himself unsighted and in the wake of the aftermath of a coming together between Dan Welch and Ollie Jackson. The race, which was red flagged and reduced to ten laps, was eventually won by Mat Jackson.
Sutton, or any of the other drivers, suffered no injuries, but with car badly damaged, the race was on to get the car onto the grid in time for race three. The team performed miracles to get the 116 MG6 ready to start from the pit lane. But just as the race had started, it was halted after a serious collision off the start line, resulting in another red flag and four cars out of the race. Fortunately, again, nobody (including a cameraman!) was seriously injured.
When the race finally got back under way, with a reduced distance of 10 laps, both drivers showed the kind of pace they’d been threatening all day. Cook, who started from 13th on the grid, claimed a place in the top 10 with a ninth-place finish, while Sutton, also on the charge throughout the race, came home in 14th. The race was won by Sheddon, who got the better of Rob Collard to take the chequered flag on the last lap.
The BTCC moves north of the border in two weeks time for rounds 19, 20 and 21 at Knockhill.
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