Ashley Sutton secured the first win of the day in the British Touring Car Championship, taking the lead from polesitter Jack Goff on the penultimate lap at Snetterton in a frenetic opening race.
Starting from third on the grid, Sutton settled in for the morning’s race behind Goff and Colin Turkington, who beat Goff off the line to assume control of the race in the early stages. On lap six, Turkington handed the lead back to Goff after the Team BMW driver sustained an uncharacteristically lazy spin at the Bomb Hole, subsequently dropping down the order.
Goff held nearly a seconds lead over Sutton but, having elected to use soft tyres in the first race, the Eurotech Racing driver started to suffer from degradation in the latter stages, giving Sutton the chance to close the gap.
On the penultimate lap, Sutton had a clear pace advantage over Goff and snatched the lead, before building an unassailable two second gap in his Subaru Levorg to clinch an assured victory.
“I didn’t want a summer break at all!” said Sutton to ITV Sport. “We came here in the test and showed good performance, but today’s what matters and with a top step, I can’t be happier!
“I knew my time with Jack would be a long wait, I kept him honest, and then he made one error and I made the most of the opportunity.
“Fair play to Jack, he did a sterling job, but I just managed to get under him.”
Goff was resigned to settling for second, albeit four seconds clear of Matt Neal who rounded out the podium finishers. Neal started from fourth after having his deleted qualifying lap reinstated, following a complication with the ride height test.
Although Neal came under heavy fire from Andrew Jordan and Jason Plato towards the end of the race, the Halfords Yuasa Racing driver held on, beating Jordan to third by just 0.2 seconds.
Plato finished fifth, over four seconds ahead of Jake Hill; the TAG Racing driver managed to hold off from Turkington after the Ulsterman sought to atone for his earlier mistake. Tom Ingram, after being run off the road by fellow Toyota Avensis runner Rob Austin, amazingly walked away unscathed and collected a decent eighth place finish.
Championship leader Gordon Shedden, who started a disappointing twenty-first after a poor qualifying, made the most of the close midfield pack and attrition to carve his way up to thirteenth, although contact with Aiden Moffat in the late stages put paid to any greater haul of points.
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