Croft BTCC: MG's Ash Sutton charges to first win in wet race three

Rookie Ash Sutton mastered challenging wet conditions to secure his maiden British Touring Car Championship win in the final race of the weekend at Croft

Croft BTCC: MG's Ash Sutton charges to first win in wet race three

The arrival of rain before the start left teams to decide whether to go with wet tyres or to gamble on slicks in the hope that the shower would pass, although only four drivers would ultimately go with dry tyres.

It proved to be the wrong call, with the rain intensifying as the lights went out after two green-flag laps.

Poleman Sam Tordoff was able to retain the lead in his West Surrey Racing BMW 125i M Sport ahead of fellow front-row starter Tom Ingram, while the quick starting rear-wheel-drive cars of Jack Goff and Colin Turkington slotted in behind as Mat Jackson's Ford - one of those to go with slicks - struggled away from the line.

Following an early safety car period to remove Warren Scott's Subaru from the gravel, Tordoff set about building a lead.

But the race would be back under caution by lap five after Jackson, who had gradually slipped down the order, ran wide at Clervaux and was then collected by Aiden Moffat's Mercedes as he rejoined.

Tordoff again tried to make a break on the restart as the drivers behind fought for position, with a forceful move from Sutton on Turkington allowing both him and Rob Collard to get ahead of the Subaru at the hairpin.

Sutton then set about chasing down second-placed Ingram, taking the place at Tower just after half-distance, and was gradually closing the gap to Tordoff when the safety car was deployed for a third time after Hunter Abbott and Jeff Smith came together at Hawthorn.

With the race becoming a two-lap dash to the flag, Sutton put Tordoff under immediate pressure and when the BMW got slightly out of shape going into Sunny, Sutton pounced to secure the lead.

It gave the reigning Clio Cup champion his first win in the BTCC and the Triple Eight-run MG squad a first success since Snetterton last year.

Tordoff was forced to settle for second place but was able to extend his championship lead going into the summer break, with Ingram holding on the complete the podium despite the best efforts of the chasing pack.

Collard secured fourth place to move up to second in the championship standings, with Andrew Jordan's Ford Focus and the second MG of Josh Cook completing the top six.

Having been in the heart of the action at the front, Turkington had to settle for seventh place.

Aron Smith, Goff and Jason Plato rounded out the top 10.

A tough weekend for the factory Honda team ended with Matt Neal in 11th and Gordon Shedden down in 22nd; the Scot having been forced to pit to change tyres having been one of those drivers to start on slicks.

RESULTS - 18 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ash Sutton Triple Eight/MG MG 32m50.206s
2 Sam Tordoff WSR BMW 1.337s
3 Tom Ingram Speedworks Motorsport Toyota 2.284s
4 Rob Collard WSR BMW 2.860s
5 Andrew Jordan Motorbase Performance Ford 3.759s
6 Josh Cook Triple Eight/MG MG 4.324s
7 Colin Turkington Team BMR Subaru 4.683s
8 Aron Taylor-Smith Team BKR Volkswagen 4.947s
9 Jack Goff WSR BMW 5.942s
10 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 6.290s
11 Matt Neal Dynamics/Honda Honda 7.578s
12 Rob Austin Handy Motorsport Toyota 8.685s
13 Daniel Lloyd Eurotech Racing Honda 9.835s
14 Adam Morgan Ciceley Racing Mercedes 10.999s
15 Michael Epps Team Hard Toyota 12.417s
16 Martin Depper Eurotech Racing Honda 14.227s
17 Daniel Welch Welch Motorsport Proton 14.818s
18 Jeff Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 16.955s
19 Stewart Lines Maximum Motorsport Ford 17.240s
20 Jake Hill Team Hard Toyota 17.813s
21 James Cole Team BMR Subaru 17.925s
22 Gordon Shedden Dynamics/Honda Honda 18.639s
23 Chris Smiley Team Hard Toyota 18.730s
24 Mark Howard Team BKR Volkswagen 34.869s
25 Alex Martin Team Parker Racing Ford 1 Lap
26 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 1 Lap
- Kelvin Fletcher Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Retirement
- Hunter Abbott Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Retirement
- Mat Jackson Motorbase Performance Ford Retirement
- Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes Retirement
- Matt Simpson Speedworks Motorsport Honda Retirement
- Warren Scott Team BMR Subaru Retirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Sam Tordoff 168
2 Rob Collard 156
3 Matt Neal 153
4 Andrew Jordan 131
5 Jack Goff 130
6 Tom Ingram 123
7 Ash Sutton 119
8 Mat Jackson 117
9 Gordon Shedden 116
10 Adam Morgan 110
11 Colin Turkington 106
12 Josh Cook 105
13 Jason Plato 90
14 Aron Taylor-Smith 88
15 Rob Austin 52
16 Jeff Smith 45
17 Daniel Lloyd 36
18 Aiden Moffat 33
19 Jake Hill 32
20 Martin Depper 25
21 Hunter Abbott 22
22 Daniel Welch 19
23 Michael Epps 19
24 Alex Martin 3
25 Ollie Jackson 3
26 Matt Simpson 1

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Croft BTCC: Collard wins after Plato and Turkington Subarus collide
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