Ashley Sutton Takes Maiden Win After Croft Rain Dance

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Ashley Sutton claimed a superb first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory in a rain-affected final race of the day at Croft.

The Triple Eight man charged through the pack, passing the West Surrey Racing BMW 125i of Sam Tordoff on the penultimate lap after the latter had lead from pole position.

Rainfall intensified before the final race of the day in North Yorkshire, Gordon Shedden and Mat Jackson among those braving slick tyres in the first wet BTCC race since the 2014 finale at Brands Hatch.

After another first-lap safety car interruption to remove Warren Scott‘s beached Subaru Levorg from the Clervaux gravel trap, Tordoff resumed normal service ahead of Ingram’s Toyota on the restart.

Colin Turkington was the man on the move however, rounding both Jack Goff and Sutton in one sublime move around the outside at Tower Bend.

The Subaru man began his pursuit of second-placed Ingram, but that was soon disrupted by a second safety car period after a slick-shot Jackson was involved in an incident with Aiden Moffat‘s Mercedes A-Class at Clervaux following an excursion.

Lap nine was less fruitful for Turkington, eased aside at the final hairpin by Sutton’s MG which also squeezed inside the Toyota of Ingram at Tower Bend four corners later.

The increasingly damp conditions appeared to suit the Triple Eight duo of Sutton and Josh Cook more than anybody, the latter overtaking Goff’s BMW around the outside at Tower while his team-mate began chasing the race leader.

Sutton’s charge continued as he homed in on leader Tordoff with a string of fastest laps, but a gap of over a second was swiftly wiped out by a third safety car period when Hunter Abbott stopped following contact from a sideways Jeff Smith.

A two-lap shoot-out would decide the outcome, Sutton pouncing at Sunny In with a bold late-braking move up the inside of the WSR BMW to grab the lead with one lap to go.

The rookie completed a sensational drive to become the 10th different winner this season, claiming MG’s first win of the season also ahead of Tordoff and Ingram.

Rob Collard survived a frenetic final lap to finish fourth, Andrew Jordan next up for Motorbase Performance ahead of Cook and Turkington, despite the latter sitting fourth at Tower Bend on the final lap. Aron Smith (Volkswagen), Goff and Jason Plato (Subaru) rounded out the top 10.

Matt Neal finished outside that bracket in 11th, while Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Shedden finished a lowly 22nd after a switch to wet tyres mid-race.

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