Ashley Sutton secured a dominant victory in the second British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham, overcoming 66 kilograms of ballast and the harder compound Dunlop tyres to beat Mat Jackson by two and a half seconds.
Sutton’s Subaru team-mate James Cole started from pole, having secured his maiden victory in the opening race, and hogged the inside line on the run down to turn two, allowing Sutton to run around the outside at the Deene hairpin and take the race lead.
From there, Sutton did not look back, easily coping with an early safety car for Gordon Shedden‘s stricken Honda Civic, who had collided with Rob Austin in a desperate lunge at the Deene hairpin. When racing resumed, he established a comfortable lead, managing the gap to Mat Jackson behind as tyre wear started to affect Sutton’s Subaru Levorg.
Jackson had inherited second position after the squabbling pair of Josh Cook and Matt Neal collided at the halfway point. Neal attempted an opportunistic lunge down the inside of the Deene hairpin, missing the corner entirely and being spun around by Cook when the MG driver turned in to take the corner. Both dropped to the rear of the field.
This left Jackson to fend off Colin Turkington in the closing stages, who came alive after finally passing Cole at the halfway point, the Subaru laden with maximum ballast. Jackson locked up and ran wide at both the Deene hairpin and Yentwood early in the final lap, but was able to cling on to second place despite the Northern Irishman’s late charge.
Cole meanwhile went backwards, running wide at the entry to Gracelands on the second lap while battling Jackson for the final podium place, dropping to seventh. He was then pushed wide by Rob Collard at Yentwood near the end of the race, dropping him down to thirteenth.
Jason Plato mounted a late comeback to finish fourth, passing Adam Morgan for fifth side-by-side through the banked turn one, followed a lap later with a dive down the inside at the Tarzan hairpin on Jack Goff for fourth.
Behind Goff and Morgan were the BMW pair of Andrew Jordan and Collard, the rear wheel drive pairing picking their way past the front wheel drive midfielders to break into the points.
Chris Smiley battled his way into the top ten, having gone door-to-door with BTC Norlin team-mate Dave Newsham early in the race and barged past the Welshman at Chapman Curves. He profited from accidents ahead to move up to eighth at one point, but was repassed by Collard after his run-in with Cole earlier, and then lost ninth on the last lap to the hard charging Tom Ingram. The Speedworks Motorsport driver’s performance was highly impressive, starting from 32nd and last on the grid to finish ninth.
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