Ashley Sutton took on a starring role at Snetterton this past weekend as Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship roared back into life following the annual summer break.
The Team BMR scored his third and fourth wins of the season to close the gap in the points to Gordon Shedden, who walked away with victory in the reverse grid encounter.
Qualifying saw Jack Goff claim a career-first pole position as he dismantled his opposition with a stunning showing behind the wheel of his Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R.
Making changes between practice sessions, Goff emerged more than four tenths quicker than his nearest challenger come the end of the session.
Despite starting from pole position, Goff’s dreams of victory didn’t come true as he slipped to second as race one got underway, with Colin Turkington storming into the lead. Turkington stretched his legs out front and looked to be on course to a fourth win of the season.
Building up a comfortable advantage, BTCC fans witnessed a rare mistake from the Team BMW driver as he lost control at the Bombhole and dropped down the order, ultimately finishing seventh.
As Goff inherited the lead, his race was just about to begin as Sutton began gradually closing the gap at the front. With a lap to go, the former Renault Clio Cup champion made his move at Agostini and went on to score his third victory of 2017. Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal rounded off the podium.
Sutton’s fine form continued in race two as he became the first driver this season to win two races in one day, as well as being the first to triumph with maximum success ballast.
Launching off the line from pole position, the 23-year-old was never headed as he built up a gap of more than five seconds as his rivals scrapped it out for the remaining podium positions.
Goff’s resolute defence finally came undone just after the halfway marker as the Team BMW pairing of Rob Collard and Turkington slithered past and in the end close the gap to Sutton. Collard’s visit to the rostrum kept up his impressive run of taking at least one podium at every event this year.
James Cole was drawn on pole position for the reverse grid encounter after a strong drive in the day’s earlier race. Unable to retain the lead off the line, Andrew Jordan surged to the front from row two with Shedden, Turkington and Collard all hot on his heels.
Further down the pack, a host of cars saw their races cut-short, Sutton being one of them. Rob Austin exited the circuit at turn six and rejoined in the side of Sutton’s door - ending both their races on the spot. Ollie Jackson was another casualty to be forced to pull over due to damage.
At the front, Jordan looked on course to notch a third win of the season until disaster struck a few laps from home. With a gap of more than a second, the Pirtek Racing driver lost all power due to a suspected electronic issue.
Managing to continue, the 2013 champion dropped to the foot of the pecking order. This therefore gifted Shedden a much-needed third win of the season and in doing so, maintained his status as championship leader.
Team BMW rounded off the podium once again ensure they remain on the heels of Shedden in the standings.
The Scotsman leads Turkington by just two points with Collard a further two behind. Double race winner Sutton remains in fourth but now sits a mere 11 points off of the summit with four events to go.