Wet & windy Thruxton hosts the opening rounds of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship
Saturday, it was a wet and windy Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire for the opening rounds of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship. Early on Saturday morning there was over 9mm of rain in a driving wind and things were not looking great unless you love seat of the pants, technically demanding racing. Luckily we have a team that are brilliant in just these circumstances and drivers that are just as good.
For the first of two free practice sessions, we saw Ash Sutton topping the time sheets less than 5 seconds off last year’s dry pole, with Aiden Moffat right up there in 6th and Carl Boardley not far off their times in 20th in his first full on outing in the car. For the second free practice session Ash finished 2nd on the screens with Aiden 8th and Carl 22nd.
Early in the session Ash was able to post the top time with Aiden running in the top 10 and Carl in 18th, but then there was a long period where the top three places were regularly being swapped. As the clock hit zero and with everyone on a flying lap on their slicks it was all to play for and with a last roll of the dice it was our very own Ash Sutton who took pole on his last lap. Carl Boardley was delighted to finish in 13th and Aiden was unlucky to be 21st. The way Aiden’s car was picking up tyre temperature meant that just one more lap would have made a huge difference, but it wasn’t to be.
A still windy Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire where the worst of the rain has cleared overnight and the circuit looked pretty dry. Ash got off to a great start to lead the race, but was then spun off by Colin Turkington who got it all wrong and ran into the back of him, with Carl making it up to 10th and Aiden up to 15th before the safety car was required after a crash involving Gordon Shedden and Chris Smiley.
Ash was now down in 21st as the safety car pulled in and on the restart, Carl went up to 9th and Aiden to 12th. Lap 8 of 19 and Aiden was really on it moving up to 11th with Carl down to 12th as Ash attacked from the back. Ash was pushing hard having had to start from the back after the safety car restart — and was soon up to 12th , meaning 10th, 11th and 12th were the three Laser cars. Ash then took Aiden for 10th with 2 laps to go and at the end we were 10th, 11th and 12th. Not the worst start to a season in some ways but bitterly disappointing as Ash was so unfairly punted off before battling back and gaining 12 places showing the speed of the car. After a stewards' enquiry, Colin Turkington was given a 17 second penalty for hitting Ash, pushing him down to 10th and moving Ash up to 9th.
Ash got a great start before Andy Neate caused a monster of a crash taking out Glynn Geddie and Jade Edwards causing a red flag after only 30 seconds of race time. After a 25 minute clear up exercise we started it all again with the track temperatures 12 degrees higher than yesterday! Start 2 and this time it was Rory Butcher who went off after 30 seconds to bring out the safety car and another lengthy delay. It was during this period that Ash suffered boost problems and was forced to pit to check things out, rejoining at the back of the field. The third start attempt was now deemed to start on lap 6 of a 15 lap race. Aiden was soon up to 8th and Ash was on another charge and after 4 laps was already up to 14th. On the final lap Ash got back up to 9th place, but was Aiden who took team honours finishing in 8th. Well done Aiden!
Because of the "reverse grid" rule for Race 3, Aiden started in 4th place with Ash in 3rd. Ash got a great start, soon up to second, and took the lead on lap 2.
By lap 3 of 16, Ash had built a commanding lead with Aiden in 4th coming under heavy pressure from Jason Plato whilst Carl Boardley was going well and up into 14th spot. Lap 7 saw Aiden with an issue (power-steering failure we discovered later) and he had to pull off the road from 4th. Lap 9 and Ash was three seconds ahead of Jake Hill who was out on slicks and in one lap Hill took the lead — but the rain was falling again! Two laps from the end and the Ford of Jake Hill was struggling a little with the wet track and Ash was able to retake the lead and take the team's first win of the season. Wow that feels good after a great race!
Next race is Snetterton 12-13 June. Can't Wait!
Video Report: https://youtu.be/H3b153RmEw0
Photo Gallery: Thruxton Photo Gallery 2021