Defending champion Ash Sutton has left the opening weekend of action in the 2021 British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton with a race win to join the double from Josh Cook earlier in the day after a brilliant effort from the Laser Tools Racing driver.
Sutton adapted well to the conditions staying on wet tyres throughout as part of the field including Jake Hill gained the lead on slicks but fell away and he took the victory in the end ahead of Jason Plato who has had an excellent return to the championship this weekend.
He edged Hill on the line who collects a third consecutive podium finish and leaves Thruxton leading the championship by one point ahead of Josh Cook and Jason Plato.
While Gordon Shedden after a poor weekend came from the back to fourth place followed by a similar sterling effort from Daniel Lloyd. With Colin Turkington, Tom Oliphant, Jack Goff, Ollie Jackson and Stephen Jelley finalising the top ten.
Before the race, teams suddenly went onto wets as rain started to fall on the Hampshire based circuit adding another conundrum to the final race of a drama filled weekend and this continued for Cook and Ingram who were given penalties due to not changing tyres in time.
Stephen Jelley, who was on pole, made a good start to try to get away from Sutton who went into second while Turkington went into third ahead of Moffat.
Sutton went through at the Complex into the lead and Turkington joined him in second to try and go after the Infiniti Q50. While further down, Shedden claimed the fastest lap and was from the back into 10th as he aimed to make progress ala Sutton from Race One and Two.
Up front, Sutton was over a second ahead of Turkington on Lap Five with the Laser Tools Racing driver not being challenged for the lead. Further down, Moffat and Plato’s battle was catching light, but the former started to drop down the order and both the Astra and Ollie Jackson picked up places.
But at the front of the field, the tide would turn towards the slick tyres the way to go with Cammish and Rowbottom pitting for new tyres and Hill would storm through the field alongside Tom Oliphant for first and second with Sutton leaving seemingly his massive lead with ease.
Oliphant received a penalty for leaving his pit box too early and so he was attempting to make the most of his second place. Sutton began coming back at the top two as the wet tyres started to fall away and the rain began to fall once more with three laps to go.
Jason Plato as a result headed into fourth place ahead of Turkington and would benefit if the likes of Hill and Oliphant fell away. It was the latter who first did with Sutton regaining second place and looking to make a move on Hill on the end of Lap 13.
It became harder to keep hold of the car for Hill and he finally succumbed with Sutton regaining the lead, but Hill was fighting and he attempted to go back through to no avail.
A drama for Carl Boardley, Rory Butcher and Rick Parfitt Jr. threatened to derail the end of the race but Sutton took the chequered flag unscathed. Further down, Plato and Shedden looked to gain more places from Hill and the former gained second on the line.
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 3 – Thruxton
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing 16 laps
2 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +4.789s
3 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +4.859s
4 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +5.025s
5 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +9.927s
6 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +10.105s
7 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +13.212s
8 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +14.014s
9 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +16.377s
10 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +18.713s
11 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +21.321s
12 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +24.962s
13 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +25.188s
14 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +25.722s
15 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +38.847
16 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +40.064s
17 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +52.655s
18 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +55.339s
19 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1:04.841s
20 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +1 lap
21 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +1 lap
22 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1 lap
23 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) BTC Racing +1 lap
24 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +2 laps
25 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +2 laps
26 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +7 laps
27 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +13 laps