Another successful meeting for the Laser Tools Racing team with another amazing win for Ash Sutton!
This weekend saw the annual trip north of the border to Aiden Moffat’s home track, Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland. A favourite among fans and drivers alike the circuit is a brilliant challenge and is one of the few circuits to have steep downhill sections, power sapping uphill sections, crests that leave the cars on two wheels and an incredibly tight uphill right hand hairpin. Each lap is quite short, but totally action-packed. This will be the 29th year of BTCC action here since its first visit in 1992!
The first Free Practice session was held in very wet, misty, murky Scottish weather. At least the team gathered some valuable wet weather data in the event it should be wet for qualifying Saturday afternoon or for the races on Sunday.
By the second Free Practice it was dry! A mixture of sunshine and cloud but no rain in sight. This was the team’s chance to get some laps in and see what pace they had.
For the all-important Qualifying session later on the Saturday afternoon, it still wasn’t warm, but conditions were good as all three Laser Tools Racing cars set off from the pit lane. In the opening exchanges, both Ash and Aiden topped the timing screens, but progress was soon stopped after a red flag as a car went into the gravel. Initially the team was building up good pace with all three cars before Carl had an unfortunate spin. This left Aiden and Ash to put in their quick laps and it was a great effort with Ash finishing 6th, Aiden 7th and Carl in 25th — good qualifying results for Aiden and Ash.
The race started with Ash in P6 and Aiden P7 and Carl unfortunately lower down the grid in 25th — off the line it was clear that the top 5 (who were all on the preferred soft tyres) were really getting away and within two laps the leader Colin Turkington had already pulled a 2.5 second lead over the bulk of the field. This left Aiden and Ash fighting with Jake Hill and Chris Smiley and it was game-on until there was a very long safety car period after Dan Lloyd went off the track.
After the restart, Ash quickly made up two places while Aiden was being fended off by Jake Hill and while not wanting to take risks, kept a comfortable 7th place. So Ash finished 4th and Aiden 7th, with Carl working his way up to 18th.
Off the line all three of our cars made great starts but the flow of the race was once again stopped by a lengthy safety car spell. After the resumption, Ash was soon up to 2nd place and now putting immense pressure on race leader Colin Turkington. Further back Carl was storming away from his starting position of 18th and was looking totally at home with the car and track. Aiden was still pushing hard in a serious battle with Gordon Shedden, Rory Butcher and Tom Ingram.
After yet another safety car, the gloves were off up and down the order and with 5 laps to go Ash had a go at Colin Turkington for the lead, but as Colin fended him off, it looked like Ash had missed his chance of victory. Then Aiden tangled with Rory Butcher over the start finish line and although Rory ended up in the gravel, Aiden lost a couple of places, which Carl Boardley took advantage of. So with two laps to go, Laser Tools Racing were in 2nd with Ash, 10th with Carl and Aiden 11th.
Then the overtake of the year! (Ash Sutton of course…) At the start of the penultimate lap, Ash sized up Colin and went for it and at the end of the lap pulled off an unexpected and unbelievable move to take the lead which he kept for the last 55 seconds of the race to win. We must also congratulate Carl, who in two races had gone from 25th to 18th and then 18th to 10th in a brilliant display.
The final race of the day and a good chance for some more solid points as (due to the reverse-grid placing) the guys started in 9th, 10th and 11th to form a solid blue and white wall of Laser Tools Racing loveliness across the track!
Full of flat-out racing, the top 10 battle was intense with Ash, Aiden and Carl all enjoy excellent runs before Carl was unfortunate to get blocked by the battle ahead at the hairpin, costing him valuable places and points, but even so he was upbeat after a great weekend with the car.
Without any desperate dramas, the team quietly fought through the field to produce a magnificent result with Ash in 5th, Aiden 7th and Carl unlucky in 11th. We were so close to getting all three cars in the top 10 for the first time, but it’s coming!
So, where does that leave Laser Tools Racing after the first half of the season?
- Ash leads the Driver’s title race by 14 points from Tom Ingram and 34 from Colin Turkington
- Laser Tools Racing lead the Teams Championship by 37 points from BTC Racing
- Laser Tools Racing lead the Independent Team’s standings by 10 points from Halfords
- Ash leads the Independent Driver’s standings by 14 points from Tom Ingram
- Aiden is now up to 9th in the Driver’s Championship
- Carl sits 2nd in the Jack Sears Trophy listings