BTCC: Sutton claims victory at the opening Knockhill race

Ash Sutton took the win in Round 10 of the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill.

Sutton claimed pole in qualifying, fastest lap and the race win at the home circuit for the Laser Tools Racing team, in their Infiniti Q50.

On the preparation lap, Jack Goff was seen halted on the approach to the pit-lane and was pushed into it following an engine issue on his car. He did not take the start.

Ahead of the start, all of the top six drivers, apart from Jake Hill in the second spot on the grid, carried any form of (championship-dictated) success ballast.

Sutton got a strong getaway as Turkington jumped to second position ahead of Hill. He immediately sought to defend as his rear-wheel drive BMW needed the first number of laps to warm up.

By the end of the first lap, Sutton established a 1.45s gap over Turkington, and built that gap in the following laps.

On the fifth lap, an intense battle broke out for eighth, ninth and tenth between Stephen Jelly, Tom Oliphant, and Josh Cook.

Cook took Oliphant at the Seat Curves for tenth, but quickly crashed into the tyre barrier before the chicane after losing the rear.

The cause was unknown initially but was suspected to be a rear-left puncture; a safety car was deployed on lap six to diminish Sutton’s lead over Turkington.

The safety car came in on lap 10, as James Gornall and Andy Neate came into brief contact with each other behind the safety car.

The battle for the lead between the leading rear-wheel drive cars heated up, as the Knockhill suited their ability to find traction for the steep inclines and descents defined the circuit.

The fight for the final podium spot broke out by lap 16 between Hill and Tom Ingram for third, as older FK2 Civic Type R defended off the newer Corolla.

Mike Bushell charged his way into seventh, defending from Matt Neal and Aiden Moffat behind.

A slight mistake at the Seat Curves, however, found Bushell fall to ninth and was passed by Neal and Oliphant.

He pitted on the next lap due to the dirt picked up from going wide.

Sutton continued his defense off Turkington, who closed up at the braking zones but the Infiniti found better traction on the exits.

The battle for third also continued until the end, with Sutton taking his third win in the Infiniti ahead of Turkington, Hill and Ingram.

In fifth position was Rory Butcher ahead of teammates Dan Cammish and Neal.

In eighth was Turkington’s teammate, Tom Oliphant who finished in front of Sutton’s teammate, Aiden Moffat.

Jelly claimed 10th position by 0.011s in a sprint to the finish line with Tom Chilton’s FK8 Civic Type R.