Team BMR repeated their Qualifying form as Ash Sutton took a lights to flag victory in the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, never being headed as he took his first win of the year.
With questions raised over how the two Team BMR Subaru Levorg drivers of Sutton and Jason Plato would react off the line, a surprisingly calm start ensued with Sutton leading way from the fast starting Team Pirtek BMW of Andrew Jordan. Jordan held second place from Plato as the field streamed into the first few turns.
An early Safety Car period ensued after contact between Rob Austin in the HMS Racing Alfa Romeo and Stephen Jelley in the Team Parker Racing BMW meant that Austins race would end in the Clervaux gravel trap. Jelley managed to get the BMW back to the pits after starting eighth place on the grid.
The race re-started on lap four with Sutton leading from Jordan and Plato whilst Tom Ingram had passed Sam Tordoff for fourth place. Colin Turkington held sixth place ahead of Rob Collard whilst Josh Cook pushed the two Team BMW drivers hard in the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra. Daniel Lloyd and James Cole completed the top ten places in the early stages.
Whilst drivers settled in with the various tyre choices in place in the hot conditions, Matt Neal made early progress up the field, making his way into the top ten by mid race. Senna Proctor also made good progress in the second Astra, passing Rory Butcher and James Cole to finish eleventh.
On the tenth lap Sutton had 1.3 second lead over Jordan, but that changed on the next lap as Plato passed the 2013 Champion into the chicane and chased after his team-mate. Jordan would then fall down the field after going wide at Hawthorns and go on to finish tenth.
Plato closed down Sutton in the final laps but both drivers held station to the end, celebrating with a side by side finish over the line. Ingram finished in third place and as top Independent with Tordoff and Turkington completing the top five.
Collard, Cook, Lloyd, Neal and Jordan completed the top ten whilst the final points positions were taken by Proctor, Cole in the Motorbase Ford Focus, Butcher, Ollie Jackson and Tom Chilton.
Ash Sutton will from Pole Position for the second BTCC race however this time he’ll be carrying seventy five kilos and will not be on the Prime Tyre with Plato on the front row with him. Race Two gets underway at 2.45pm.