Having taken second in the first race behind team mate James Cole, Sutton started this race from second on the grid and drove around the outside of his team mate on the first lap to take the lead.
Things went downhill from then on for Cole as he ran wide onto the grass on the first lap and then gradually slipped down the order to take thirteenth place at the flag. Sutton meanwhile, cruised to a relatively easy victory and despite a late race safety car when Shedden had an off in the Halfords Honda, he never looked like being headed.
“We definitely found something with the car at the start, but it faded away.” Said Sutton after the race. “I had to keep an eye on the time between myself and Mat [Jackson] as the car was moving around a little towards the end – it wasn’t the same. It’s a lot hotter than we’ve been used to recently so maybe we just overworked the tyres from halfway onwards. Luckily though, we had the gap from the start. We were told we could race. I had a very poor start again, which is something I’ve got to work on. I just did my normal living on the edge around the outside stuff. It worked that time. There were no pre-discussions.”
Matt Jackson had closed on him in the later stages after an impressive but tough race for the Team Shredded Wheat driver in which he made contact with Josh Cook’s MG on the eighth lap. Cook then made contact with Matt Neal on the next lap, sending them both off track at the Deene Hairpin
There was another incident shortly afterwards when Matt Simpson’s Honda was fired off after contact with Team Shredded Wheat’s Rory Butcher.
Jack Goff had found himself in a battle for second again but once again was unable to hang on. This time though he dropped to fifth. First past him was Mat Jackson who set off after Sutton, then Turkington was next through demoting Goff off the podium. Lastly he dropped a further place after Jason Plato got through in his Subaru.
Up ahead Jackson caught Sutton and then battled for second after the safety car. He wasn’t successful and then had to fend off Turkington but clearly enjoyed the battles;
“Ash [Sutton] was really playing the game. There was a lot more pace in there. You’ve got rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive, and it is what it is. It was entertaining. Josh [Cook] went into the hairpin wide and came through it. We made contact and that’s fine, but to drive you off in the manner he did, that isn’t racing. Colin [Turkington] is a fighter. He’s fighting for points and he would he would be trying everything. It’s all about corner exit in the battle between RWD and FWD. He kept it clean, and it was a good race.”
Turkington described his race battle;
“You’re fighting instinct is to pass the next guy and get the bigger trophy but it’s about risk management at this stage of the season. I was really surprised again with the pace of the BMW on the hard tyre, Mat [Jackson] was some way up the road but we were so strong at the end. I wasn’t expecting a podium but we’ll take that. I was sandwiched between James [Cole] and Jason [Plato] and it would have been easy to have been moved aside. I had to be patient and protect my line. I could see where James was struggling and as soon as he made the slip, I pounced.”
BMW duo Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard were inseparable for much of the race, and the former was further rewarded for fending off his experienced stablemate by taking the reverse grid pole position for today’s final encounter.
Fantastic performances from Chris Smiley and Tom Ingram completed the top ten order, as both stormed through the field. BTC Norlin Racing’s Smiley made most of his progress early on as the Chevrolet Cruze carved its way from 20th on the grid to ninth. If that wasn’t impressive enough, then Ingram’s progress from 32nd on the grid was nothing short of phenomenal. The Toyota man made move after move to get inside the top ten, but Smiley impressively prevented the Speedworks Motorsport driver from making any further inroads.
Ashley Sutton said: “We definitely found something with the car at the start, but it faded away. I had to keep an eye on the time between myself and Mat (Jackson) as the car was moving around a little towards the end – it wasn’t the same. It’s a lot hotter than we’ve been used to recently so maybe we just overworked the tyres from halfway onwards. Luckily though, we had the gap from the start. We were told we could race. I had a very poor start again, which is something I’ve got to work on. I just did my normal living on the edge around the outside stuff. It worked that time. There were no pre-discussions.”
So behind Plato and Goff in fourth and fifth came Adam Morgan in the Mercedes. Jordan and Collard were next up, Jordan’s eighth place earning him a reverse grid pole for race three. Tom Ingram and Chris Smiley rounded off the top ten.
Ollie Jackson was in the points again for AMD Tuning in twelfth just ahead of James Cole. Aiden Moffat and Aron Taylor-Smith completed the points scorers.
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 23 – Rockingham
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 18 laps
2 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +2.438s
3 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +2.730s
4 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +7.110s
5 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +9.513s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +10.101s
7 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +10.569s
8 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +10.756s
9 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +14.802s
10 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +15.349s
11 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +15.913s
12 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +18.138s
13 James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +18.466s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +19.262s
15 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +20.029s
16 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +20.261s
17 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +21.624s
18 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +22.278s
19 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +23.389s
20 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +24.479s
21 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +29.679s
22 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +30.884s
23 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +31.330s
24 Brett SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +35.011s
25 Stewart LINES (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +43.605s
26 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +1 lap
DNF Michael EPPS (GBR) TAG Racing +3 laps
DNF Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +5 laps
DNF Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +7 laps
DNF Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +9 laps
DNF Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +16 laps
DNF Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +17 laps By Marc Waller