Croft BTCC: Ash Sutton scores first win of 2018 in Subaru one-two

Ashley Sutton followed up pole position with victory in the Croft British Touring Car Championship opener, leading a Subaru one-two for the first win of his title defence

Sutton held the lead when the lights went out but the fast-starting BMW of Andrew Jordan was able to slot into second on the run to Clervaux.

A clash behind between Stephen Jelley and Rob Austin led to the safety car being deployed until lap four, when Sutton immediately opened up a gap of nearly a second over Jordan behind.

WSR man Jordan then came under increasing pressure from Jason Plato in the second of the Subarus.

Plato eventually made his move at the end of the 10th of the 17 laps, holding a tighter line coming out of the final corner to draw alongside Jordan on the start/finish straight.

Although Jordan could defend into the first turn, Plato was able to put his nose up the inside through Hawthorn and made the move stick into the chicane to go second.

Once through, Plato set about chasing down his BMR team-mate ahead but, despite closing to within a second of the lead, he had to settle for second spot behind Sutton.

It was also the first win since the team switched to Swindon-prepared engines at the start of the year.

"I didn't think we'd be in this position a few weeks at Oulton Park," Sutton said.

"Running the hard tyre made life a bit harder but the gamble paid off. I knew the old boy was coming for me towards the end but I had a bit left in the tank when I needed it.

"It's great for Subaru, for BMR and for Swindon to get a win under our belt."

Having slipped down to third spot, Jordan dropped away from the leading pair and was forced to defend from Tom Ingram - who was enjoying a strong run as best of the front-wheel drive cars in his Toyota Avensis.

Ingram had a look at the hairpin with four laps to go but was then gifted the place at the start of the next lap when Jordan ran wide into the Clervaux gravel and plummeted down the order.

That left Ingram free to round out the podium, with Sam Tordoff edging out Colin Turkington in the battle for fourth place.

Tordoff had been dicing with Ingram early on but ultimately found himself forced to defend from the BMW behind in the closing laps, with the pair split by just a tenth of a second as they crossed the line.

Rob Collard rounded out the top six in the second of the WSR-run BMWs having run nose-to-tail with Turkington throughout the race.

Josh Cook and Dan Lloyd completed the top eight, Lloyd taking his best result since returning to the series at Oulton Park with the BTC Norlin squad.

Jordan's moment at the first corner would ultimately result in him crossing the line down in 10th spot, just behind Matt Neal's Honda - which came through from 15th on the grid after his qualifying troubles to take ninth.

Mid-race contact for Neal's team-mate Dan Cammish played a part in him finishing outside the points in 19th, while Jack Goff failed to make much forward progress from 26th on the grid and crossed the line 21st.

That was still a better result than fellow title challenger Adam Morgan, who retired with damaged suspension.

Race one result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 17 26m50.484s
2 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 17 0.863s
3 Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 17 8.897s
4 Sam Tordoff Motorbase Ford 17 11.293s
5 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 17 11.450s
6 Rob Collard WSR BMW 17 11.696s
7 Josh Cook Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 17 12.304s
8 Daniel Lloyd BTC Norlin Honda 17 16.247s
9 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 17 18.222s
10 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 17 19.114s
11 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 17 20.177s
12 James Cole Motorbase Ford 17 23.658s
13 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning MG 17 26.969s
14 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 17 30.579s
15 Tom Chilton Motorbase Ford 17 30.766s
16 Tom Oliphant Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 17 31.436s
17 Chris Smiley BTC Norlin Honda 17 35.249s
18 Josh Price Team BMR Subaru 17 38.086s
19 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 17 38.381s
20 Mike Bushell Team Hard Volkswagen 17 38.504s
21 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 17 38.769s
22 Matt Simpson Eurotech Racing Honda 17 39.812s
23 Michael Caine Team Hard Volkswagen 17 40.311s
24 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 17 47.813s
25 Sam Smelt AmD Tuning Audi 17 49.022s
26 Tom Boardman AmD Tuning MG 17 57.132s
- Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 14 Retirement
- Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 14 Retirement
- Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 10 Retirement
- Jake Hill Team Hard Volkswagen 2 Retirement
- Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 1 Retirement
- Rob Austin HMS Racing Alfa Romeo 0 Retirement

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