Silverstone Race Report
What an exciting weekend for Laser Tools Racing! With strong performances from both drivers Aiden Moffat and Ashley Sutton, the weekend finished with Ash maintaining his lead of the drivers’ championship.
On the Saturday there were a lot of challenges for the team with the temperature being so cold – about 8 degrees at the start of the session, the biting northerly wind, the incredibly low but bright sun and the short, sharp circuit. Even with maximum ballast, Ash was able to get the car under his spell early on and was able to end the first practice session top of the time sheets with a 57.501 second lap, narrowly ahead of Tom Ingram. Aidan was no slouch either, building on the pace he found at Knockhill to finish the session 9th with a 57.836.
For the qualifying session, after a brilliantly sunny day so far, we suddenly had cloud and spots of rain at the start of the session! To cut a long story short, it spitted and spat all through the session causing rear-wheel-drive drivers real issues about how far they dare push without risking a damaging trip to the Silverstone concrete. At the end it was Dan Cammish on pole with a time of 57.349 seconds whilst Ash was P7 at 57.663 seconds and Aiden was 15th 57.895. In fact, there were 24 cars within a second of the leader, so things were tight.
Another cool start to the day for Race 1 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone. On the first lap, both drivers looked to be on a mission and Ash had managed 5th at the end of lap 1 with Aidan looking to make a move as well. After a relatively short safety car period, both cars got the hammer down and Ash was able to put enough pressure on Oliphant that he went wide giving Ash the chance to take him and move up to 5th behind Turkington. Aiden also made a big move on lap 12 and got himself up to P12 before getting P11 on lap 16.
Ash meanwhile went on a mission to catch Turkington and whilst he could get right on his tail, he was just unable to get past, but to finish right behind his title rival was no mean feat and looks good for race 2 later on. Aiden’s 11th was a good performance also, gaining 4 places.
Race 2 is Aiden’s 200th BTCC race – the youngest driver ever to achieve this! And now the sun is shining!
Off the line, Ash got an amazing start and was absolutely flying when on lap 2 he was able to take Colin Turkington and all looked rosy for a few seconds. Then disaster struck as the cars directly in front of him braked suddenly and Ash was forced to brake so hard that he badly flat-spotted his front left tyre and was dropped back to 10th, directly in front of Aiden. As the race wore on, the tyre got worse and Ash was eventually forced to pit with major damage to the tyre and the wing.
Aiden however, was making his 200th race a real race to remember as he was on a mission to prove why he is so highly regarded by the racing community. Fighting with much more experienced drivers and works teams he made move after move in one of the cleanest drives seen this season. Time and again he picked his spot and as we went into the last lap he had got up to a magnificent 5th place, while Ash after his wheel and tyre problem finished in 26th place.
The ultimate comeback! There is only one thing that happened in this race – Ash Sutton drove from 26th on the grid to finish in 2nd place! I’ll let you take that in for a minute. Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton went from 26th to 2nd to retake the top spot in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship. Wow that is amazing.
However it was an eventful race; Ash was up to 14th when Rory Butcher had a monumental crash (that we are all thankful that he walked away from), after barrel-rolling his Ford Focus on lap 7 and the race was red-flagged (stopped). After the restart, with Aiden running 5th Ash’s was the best drive that we have seen in many a year and when Aiden had steering damage after a minor collision, Ash overtook Aiden and piled on the pressure to the extent that nobody could stand in his way. There is no doubt that one more lap would have seen a win, but it wasn’t to be and was just monumental in every way for Ash, the team and the championship.
With Aiden coming in 8th this has been another great weekend for the Laser Tools Racing team and Ash still leads the championship in spite of being pulled back to P3 in Race 3 for a rule infringement. Laser Tools Racing still maintains its lead of the Independent team’s championship. Next up is Croft in two weeks’ time, if we can get our breath back by then!