Successful sortie for Laser Tools Racing at Thruxton
Another successful sortie for Laser Tools Racing at Thruxton in Hampshire over the weekend. Our driver Ash Sutton maintains his lead of the Driver’s Championship with a healthy 30-point lead over main rival Tom Ingram.
On Saturday morning the FP1 first practice session had started well but the session was stopped after another red flag. Ash had managed at this stage to put in some fast laps but LTR drivers Aiden Moffat and Carl Boardley had only just started when the session was stopped. FP2 was much better though, the engineers getting lots of data to set the cars up for the all-important qualifying session in the afternoon.
Drama in the qualifying session though as Aiden Moffat recovered the car from a terrifying tyre blowout at over 140mph on the entry to Church corner which sent him flying backwards into a potentially damaging crash. But Aiden managed to avoid the barriers and limp back to the pits, however the incident spoilt his qualifying session. Up at the front, it was the usual Thruxton front-wheel-drive advantage, but for much of the session Ash pushed them close, sitting in third until the late stages. At the flag it was a very creditable 7th for Ash who was quietly confident: “There is a little more to come,” he said, “and with my rivals where they are I am reasonably happy with that”.
Race 1 started with Ash in P7 and Aiden P18 and Carl Boardley unfortunately lower down the grid in 26th after some issues on the Saturday. Once in the pack, Thruxton is a notoriously difficult circuit to pass on and so the guys really had their work cut out. In the opening stages, Aiden was able to make some early passes, but then unfortunately put a wheel on the grass and lost five places in the process. Carl, despite a tough race gained a couple of places to finish in 24th, but it was Ash who starred again. The final place in the top five eventually went to our championship leader Ash, who showed hugely impressive pace despite carrying maximum success ballast in the Laser Tools car.
Starting in 5th place, Ash got a great start and after just two laps and some spectacular overtaking, he was up to 3rd. Then taking 2nd he set out after the leader, Josh Cook on lap 4, with cook having a 2.5 second lead. On the ragged edge, Ash was reeling him in at half a second a lap and on lap 10 he made his move and was through. Ash was then able to maintain his lead through to the end after possibly the most exciting drive of the season.
With the reverse grid for Race 3, Ash started in P8, with Aiden P13 and Carl P21. We were hopeful of a great final race of the day, but that was soon ruined after a couple of crashes on the first corner resulted in four laps under a safety car, giving us a maximum of 19 laps of frantic action. Racing restarted on lap 6 with Ash still in 8th, Aiden 13th and Carl 20th.
On lap 7, Ash’s maximum ballast weight of 75Kg in his car was evident as he was passed by Tom Ingram and Jason Plato, dropping him to 10th and then on lap 8, Chris Smiley got passed as well, leaving ash two places ahead of Aiden. Worse was to follow on lap 9 for the team as Paul Rivett inexplicably hammered not once, but twice into Carl, damaging the car and forcing him out of the race. There were then two further safety car spells before the end, and at the finish it was Ash in 10th and Aiden in 13th. Crucially Ash’s two title rivals Colin and Tom Ingram were 2nd and 5th. At the end of the weekend it was Ash still leading the Championship by 30 points from Tom Ingram. In the Team’s Championship we are level with BTC racing on 330 points. Ash leads the Independent Driver’s championship by 28 points from Tom and in the Independent Team’s Trophy, Laser Tools Racing lead BTC Racing by 17 points.
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