SUTTON TAKES RACE ONE VICTORY IN TCR UK AT OULTON
Ash Sutton claimed his maiden win in the TCR UK series with a dominant display in a restarted race one at Oulton Park, with the Verizon Connect Racing driver winning by over 16 seconds from WestCoast Racing’s Dan Lloyd.
The first start saw Sutton hold on to his lead into Turn 1 as behind him Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor slipped past Lloyd to claim second. However, after just one lap of racing, the red flags were brought out when DPE Motorsport’s Robert Gilmour and Maximum Motorsport’s Carl Swift tangled at Island bend, making heavy contact with the barriers and causing extensive damage to both the Alfa Romeo and the CUPRA.
After a half-hour delay whilst the barriers were repaired, the race restarted as a 15-minute sprint to the flag. Sutton immediately got down to business, opening up a clear gap, whilst behind him DPE Motorsport’s Derek Palmer Jr moved into second at the first corner. Palmer would then hold that position for the remainder of the race, despite pressure from firstly Taylor and latterly Lloyd. However, the Alfa Romeo driver would be demoted to fourth upon completion of the race, due to receiving a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits.
That gave Lloyd second and allowed the Volkswagen driver to extend his championship lead, whilst his team-mate Andreas Bäckman completed the podium after Taylor was also given a 10-second penalty for being out of position on the starting grid. Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) took fifth in his Hyundai, whilst Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing) was sixth in her Volkswagen.
Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) followed up his best qualifying of the year with another points finish in seventh as the only CUPRA driver to finish, whilst Taylor was classified in eighth after his penalty was applied. Maximum Motorsport’s TCR UK newcomer Tim Docker completed the classified finishers in ninth.
Ash Sutton (1st) said: “I just needed to get my head down at the start, get a gap, and then manage it from there and it then pretty much ran to script.
“From my point of view, we had a mint start off the line, better than the first one, and it meant that we could then knuckle down, work on it and maintain it.
“That second start for me was mustard, so I’ve got the knack of it now and it just means we can now roll it on to race two. I think we get a little bit more lee-way [with track limits] in the BTCC, so adapting to that was another learning curve of TCR and I think we’ve got that one nailed.”
Dan Lloyd (2nd) said: “It was a tough race. I’m kicking myself for the start, as it sounds like Ollie jumped the start, but I’m kicking myself because I need to sort out my starts. I’m happy that I got into position and I heard over the radio that Palmer had two penalties as well, so I wasn’t going to do anything stupid, just brining it home in P2 and hoping it stays like that. It was good for points – if Taylor’s been put back there then it’s all good.
“It can be a case of hero to zero – do you go for it and finish on track, or do you just make the sensible decision and trust that the rules are going to stick and that the penalties will be put in place, so it is a difficult one. As I said before the race, I think we were racing for second and that’s what we got, so it’s great for points and I’m pleased for my team-mate as well who got third.”
Andreas Bäckman (3rd) said: “It was really fun – I didn’t know until after the chequered flag that I was third, so I thought I was fifth or something like that, so it was nice.
“I hope it stays like that because two times I have lost a podium because of penalties afterwards, so we will see now if it stays like this or not.”