Rollercoaster results for Laser Tools Racing at Croft!
The weekend’s BTCC racing was at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire and on the Saturday the first practice session went very well for the Laser Tools Racing team. Even with maximum ballast, Ash Sutton was once again able to get the car under his spell early on and was able to end the session 2nd on the time sheets with a 1.22.27 second lap, 0.125 of a second behind his arch rival Colin Turkington. Aiden was no slouch either, building on the pace he found at Silverstone to finish the session 9th with a 1.22.857.
However for the all-important qualifying session in the afternoon, it had started raining heavily and all the cars were struggling to get grip. The result was that both of our cars went off (Aiden first) which caused red flags (session stopped) meaning that neither driver could take any further part in the session. At the time of the crashes, Ash Sutton had been sitting in 2nd place and Aiden Moffat in 11th, but because both drivers had caused red flags their best time was taken off them, so that left them starting Race 1 on the Sunday with Ash in 7th place on the grid and Aiden 15th.
After a good start off the line and a clean first couple of corners the team’s hopes were high, but that was soon ended as Ash was rear ended by Butcher pushing him down to 12th and pushing Oliphant back with him. But after 3 laps Ash was up to 11th ahead of Oliphant and the fight was on.
Ash was on a mission and as the laps counted down he was able to take Cammish, Morgan, Thompson, Neal and Chilton to claw things back and end up 5th. Aiden meanwhile had a great battling race in the midfield ending up 16th with only Tom Ingram able to get past. A great effort as he ended the race well clear of the chasing pack led by Jack Goff.
After the race, the stewards looked at the contact from Rory Butcher on Ash. Based on that footage, Rory was handed a 2 second penalty demoting him from 4th to 5th and Ash was therefore promoted from 5th to 4th! This means that after Race 1, Ash retains a 2 point lead at the top of the Driver’s Championship.
All we can say about Race 2 at Croft is that we live to fight another day with no real damage done! Both Laser Tools Racing Infinitis got off the line well and at the first corner, Colin Turkington went straight on into the gravel and out of the race. This left Ash in 3rd and Aiden in 15th behind the safety car, and as the race continued the top 3 of Josh Cook, Jake Hill and Ash Sutton built up a bit of a gap over the field. This continued for several laps until Ash made an aggressive move up the inside of Hill at the chicane but it didn’t work, causing damage to his right-hand front wing and wheel — the resulting puncture forced a pit stop! Despair!
Meanwhile Aiden was driving a fine race and brought the Infiniti home in a very tidy 11th place ahead of the reverse grid. As it was the reverse wasn’t kind to Aiden and he was to start Race 3 in 11th, with the two championship contenders Ash Sutton in 20th and Colin Turkington in 23rd!
With the cloud cover it was rapidly going dark at Croft, but for a second consecutive third race, Ash Sutton set the dim evening alight with a truly memorable race. Starting 20th, with the bit between his teeth off the line, Ash was up to 13th by the end of lap two and was on a charge. By contrast, Colin Turkington was forced to pit and came back out 5 laps down.
The race was then stunned by an immense crash for Bobby Thompson on the very fast back straight and the safety car was deployed along with an emergency medical scramble. Thankfully Bobby walked away and the race resumed as 18 laps rather than the original 15. Ash and Aiden continued their good form from the restart and Ash once again went on the offensive in the gathering gloom.
On the last lap Ash had got up to 5th behind Matt Neal and was able to get up his inside coming out of the last corner. It ended in a photo-finish, but Matt Neal held on to 4th by 0.019 seconds. Yet another mesmeric drive from Ash and easily showed just why he is a former champion.
Aiden meantime had been involved in a race long battle with Senna Procter and Rory Butcher and finally split the pair to come home in 10th. A great result for the team and we are now in a very strong position going into the last two rounds.
So, as we leave Croft and with only 2 rounds to go on the Driver’s Championship it is Ash on 261 points ahead of Dan Cammish on 254 points, with Colin Turkington 3rd on 249.
Ash Sutton also leads the Independent Driver’s Championship and Laser Tools Racing leads the Independent Team’s Championship.
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