Ash Sutton converted pole position into victory in the first Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Knockhill. He resisted near race long pressure from championship leader Colin Turkington but drove faultlessly to close the gap at the top of the standings to just 13 points.
There was drama before the lights went out as Team HARD’s Jack Goff failed to get off the line at the start of the formation lap and had to be pushed into the pit lane meaning his race was over before it had even begun.
Fortunately, the quick actions of the marshalls meant that there wasn’t a delayed start and when the lights went out Sutton assumed the lead. Turkington made a good getaway from the second row and passed Hill on the drag down to the first corner. Hill tried to fight back on the opening lap and put Turkington under such severe pressure that Sutton was able to build a 1.4 second lead after just one lap.
At the end of the lap, Dan Cammish in fourth, tried a daring move around the outside of Hill and Turkington at the hairpin. He passed Hill and ended up side by side with Turkington but the BMW driver nudged him wide which caused him to lose a significant amount of momentum. Hill swooped immediately back past him and Tom Ingram and Rory Butcher found their way through under braking for the first corner which demoted Cammish to sixth.
On lap five Josh Cook, who was making good progress having just passed Tom Oliphant for eleventh, had what appeared to be a rear suspension failure that fired him off the circuit and into the barriers. He was unhurt but the car was badly damaged and BTC Racing now face a race against time to get it repaired for race two.
This shunt brought out the safety car and nullified Sutton’s advantage. At the restart, Turkington was all over the back of Sutton but try as he might, he could not find a way through despite a very cheeky look up the inside into the hairpin on the final lap. Sutton resisted to take his third victory of the season, beating Turkington to the flag by just three tenths of a second.
Jake Hill was third but had to fend off intense pressure from the Toyota of Tom Ingram who had to settle for fourth; just half a second split the pair as they crossed the line.
Rory Butcher was a slightly subdued fifth at his home circuit, with Cammish sixth, unable to recover the ground he lost on the opening lap following contact with Turkington.
Matt Neal was a fighting seventh in his newly repaired Honda Civic following his qualifying smash yesterday. He was closely followed by Tom Oliphant who made his way forward from tenth on the grid.
Aiden Moffat was ninth in the second Infiniti, whilst Stephen Jelley pipped Tom Chilton to tenth on the line after a race-long tussle.
The second race of the day begins at 13:30 and will be broadcast live on ITV2.