Napa Racing UK dominated the fourth round of the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, with Ash Sutton taking two wins, with teammate Dan Rowbottom the third and final race of the weekend.
Here is how the action unfolded.
A bad start to the day for Andrew Watson, who didn’t even make it to the race as his #11 Castore Power Max Racing Vauxhall Astra broke down on the grid with the team being unable to fix his front hub issues, so he was unable to take up his seventh place starting position.
Everyone on the grid was on the hard tyres for the day, so there was little room for strategy in the three races.
Everyone got away well with them all holding position off the start, the only pressure applied to the top three on the first lap was from Jake Hill who trying to find his BMW a gap so could get past Josh Cook around the back part of the circuit.
Jack Butel pitted after lap one as he had grass stuck in his grill, after an off somewhere around the circuit.
Tom Chilton created a bit of a traffic jam at Club as he tapped Stephen Jelley’s rear, which left a BMW-sized roadblock in the middle of the chicane, which stopped drivers like Osborne and Halstead in their tracks at the end of Lap 2.
Halstead would then not recover from stopping at the Chicane as he would retire the car on Lap 5.
A familiar sight for the season on lap eight as Ash Sutton’s #116 Napa Racing UK Ford Focus, as usual, had just checked out, with him being +1.8 seconds ahead of Tom Ingram’s #1 Hyundai.
The good day for Sutton hadn’t translated for his teammate Dan Rowbottom, who slowed coming out of Church on Lap nine.
The Napa driver would change his front left tyre and rejoin the circuit a lap down from the rest of the field.
Ricky Collard would skip the Club Chicane to get past Doble’s Astra, he would concede the position on Lap 13 but would also lose out to the West Surrey Racing BMW of Adam Morgan when doing so.
Ash Sutton’s domination of the British Touring Car Championship continued with a win in race one, with the three-time champion being +2.5s ahead of reigning champion Tom Ingram, then over four seconds ahead of third place and Independent winner Josh Cook in his One Motorsport with Startline Racing Honda Civic Type R.
In terms of the Championship, Ash Sutton sat top with 157 points with him being +11 points ahead of Tom Ingram, and then +38 ahead of Colin Turkington.
Ash Sutton headed the pack, with yet again only one lap of hybrid usage, the one question being could he replicate Race One?
Again everyone got away well from the line, with the best starter being Jake Hill from fourth who was side by side with Josh Cook until the Honda was able to fend off the BMW with Cook holding the inside for Seagrave.
Lap two saw a big off for the #17 One motorsport with Starline Racing Honda of Will Powell would spin to the inside of the circuit which end in him going heavily frontwards into the inside barrier at turn one, leaving the Honda looking rather second-hand.
George Gamble would retire on lap four with him pulling off with suspension failure.
Bobby Thompson would slow into Club spelling the end to his Race Two, as everyone around him filtered past, he entered the pits.
Then on Lap five at Club again Dexter Patterson would go up the inside of the recovering Castore Power Maxed Astra of Watson who was pushed sideways and had to cut across the grass at the second part of the chicane.
Meanwhile, at the front of the field Ash Sutton was +1.133s ahead of the Bristol Street Motors with Excelr8 #1 Hyundai of Tom Ingram, with the Hyundai driver keeping the leader in touch on lap ten.
The #99 Cupra of Jade Edwards retired with yet more mechanical issues with her having to park the car on the inside of turn one on lap 12, with Edwards looking extremely frustrated when leaving the Vehicle.
On lap 13, Rory Butcher in his Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Corolla, was trying to make the hatchback as wide as possible, as the much larger West Surrey Racing BMW of Colin Turkington was looking for a way through.
Ash Sutton would take two wins out of two, with Ingram being a +2.234s back and then Cook being in third and +6.330s off Sutton, but would take his and One Motorsport’s second Independent win of the day.
Championship wise Ash Sutton extended his lead with him now sitting on 179 points and +17 ahead of reigning champion Tom Ingram, as Turkington is now +50 points back, as Sutton runs away with the title race.
For the reverse grid, it was Adam Morgan in the #33 Team BMW car on Pole, making it a full reverse grid as he finished the last race in 12th.
After a great recovery drive from Dan Rowbottom with him finishing 11th after starting near the back of the field, he was handed a three-place grid penalty for Race Three for an incident with Ronan Pearson, which would see him start from fifth position rather than second, with Aiden Moffatt now taking up that position followed by Ricky Collard in third.
Off the start, Morgan got away very well but Aiden Moffat in the One Motorsports Honda Civic would close the gap in the braking zone at Campbell as he sat on the BMW’S bumper leaving the complex.
The top three from the other two races were all bunched together at Campbell with Ash Sutton looking up the inside of Tom Ingram’s Hyundai, who held Sutton off in the complex, which left the championship leader with pressure from Cook coming out of Seagrave.
Rowbottom’s grid penalty wasn’t stopping him as he went past down the inside at Village, as the cars flew into Church in a massive pack with them fighting for second.
Dan Rowbottom wasn’t done yet with him finding his way around the outside of Aiden Moffat at Campbell, which gave him the inside for Cobb which allowed through in a fantastic move that moved him to second on lap five.
Then by lap nine, the #32 Napa Racing UK Ford Focus was right with Adam Morgan who had been comfortably in the lead until this point.
Lap ten would be when Rowbottom got past Morgan when Morgan ran wide at Goodwood, which allowed Rowbottom to just drive straight past the Team BMW car at Village to take the lead.
Meanwhile, from lap ten Aiden Moffatt was doing a great job of keeping the #4 Team BMW Turkington behind, as the Honda was placed so well defensively that the experienced Turkington couldn’t find a way through.
Chilton would retire on lap 14 in his #3 Hyundai after he experienced a spin earlier in the lap.
Then moments later Jade Edwards in her #99 RE. Beverages and Bartercard with Team Hard Cupra would leave the track via an escape road in a season with so many mechanical gremlins.
In a brilliant drive, Dan Rowbottom would take the Race Three win and Napa Racing UK’s third of the day.
He was followed by Adam Morgan’s BMW which was +2.733s off the lead and in third Aiden Moffatt in a great defensive drive was +3.786s off the lead and would take One Motorsports with Starline Racing’s third independent win of the day.
As usual, Race three had closed the championship a bit with Suttons lead down to just +14 points from Ingram and then +41 back was Colin Turkington.