- Qualifying - Ash Sutton and Jason Plato secure front row lock out
- Race 1 – Ash Sutton 1st, Jason Plato 2nd and Manufacturers Award goes to Subaru
- Race 2 – Ash Sutton does the double
- Race 3 - HiQ Teams Trophy awarded to Adrian Flux Subaru Racing
Photos by Gergo Toth Photography
The BMR Racing duo of Ash Sutton and Jason Plato celebrated a double podium at Croft in North Yorkshire yesterday after what has been a tough season for the team so far in the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Ash then went on to take a second win of the day, making him the first driver in this years BTCC series to take a double win at a circuit.
Saturdays qualifying saw the Championship winning duo secure a front row Adrian Flux Subaru Racing lock out with a pole position for Ash and a second for Jason following an enormous amount of work completed by the team and Swindon Powertrain back since last time out at Oulton Park. With aerodynamic refinements and updates on the intercoolers, we were also given a slight boost adjustment of approximately 3-5 bhp following a miscalculation on our base settings. With the addition of no weight being on board and with the rear wheel drive Subaru Levorg suiting Croft Circuit, this was finally a match made in heaven with everything coming together to tick all of the boxes. The Levorg has performed well at Croft during the last three years and so it was no huge surprise to us that things finally came good.
The double podium finish was achieved in the first race of the day with Ash taking a lights to flag victory with Jason taking up rear gunner position. Although Jason briefly lost a position to Andrew Jordan at the start, the battle soon ensued and he snatched the place back when Jordan ran wide at the Chicane, securing a second place finish and a Subaru 1-2 victory.
The Autoglym Academy driver Josh Price also had a great race bringing his Subaru Levorg home in a season best of 18th.
Despite losing the lead in the opening laps to Tom Ingram in Race Two, reigning BTCC Champion Ash went on to take his second victory of the day with another win and therefore bettering his performance at Croft from 2017 and finally beginning his battle to defend his title.
After initially running in third for the first few laps in Race Two, Jason was penalised with a drive through penalty for a jump start which resulted in him dropping back down the order to 28th place, however, the former double BTCC Champion then fought his way through the field with an outstanding drive, making his way all the way back up to a point scoring position of 14th.
Unfortunately for Josh his car overheated on the sweltering circuit after being stuck in traffic which prevented any clean air being circulated to cool the engine, eventually resulting in him having to retire from the race.
The reverse grid draw was made and ball number 9 was selected placing Ash 9th on the grid for the 3rd and final race of the day, Jason started from his race two finishing position and Josh would start from 29th. Dan Lloyd would start from pole position. Ash made an awesome start and immediately jumped up to 6th place and after a great battle with Jordan and Matt Neal he soon made it up to 4th and hopes of another podium when an out of control Neal, who was late on the brakes, fired him off into the gravel trap subsequently dropping him back to 7th. Ash finished the race in 6th with Jason and Josh, both on the hard tyre, finished the race in 19th and 24th respectively.
Ash was given a one second time penalty post race following an incident with Jordan which consequently dropped him back a position to 7th.
Ash now sits 7th in the Drivers Championship standings.
We leave Croft Circuit delighted with our results from the weekend but remain focussed on the tough job we have ahead of us. So, it’s heads down and back to HQ to continue to our quest to do all we can with developing the car to ensure that we are able to come back fighting at the power circuits that we know are staring us in the face for the second half of the season.
Jason Plato – “Despite the trials and tribulations of race three and my mistake in race two its been a great day for the team. It’s nice to be back with a competitive chassis but we are still miles away with engine performance with some serious issues that we’ve got to find solutions for but its nice to be back competitive and having a go again. The frustrations are if we are not right at the front it’s very difficult because the speed differential down the straight means you’re at risk all the time of losing places and even if someone’s really slow with tyre problems you can’t overtake. So, it’s very frustrating still but at least we’re making progress and we’ve had a result which is great for everybody.”
Ash Sutton – “The biggest thing from the weekend was the improvement to the car from what the team has been doing back at base. The effort from Oulton Park to now has shown in the gains we have made in that short time and the slight boost adjustment is a very small part of that. It’s very positive having myself and Jason at the sharp end of the grid with strong pace but part of that was due to the fact that we were at a rear wheel drive circuit which made our lives much easier for qualifying and race one with zero ballast. I think we picked up one of the strongest points hauls in the past 18 months of my journey with Subaru which just brings that little bit of hope for defending my title but that is still a long shot.
Josh Price – “I left Croft feeling positive and with a smile on my face having enjoyed a much stronger day in the Autoglym Academy Subaru Levorg, it was great to get a better result. There’s still a long way to go but I’m really looking forward to the 60th Anniversary race next time out at Snetterton after the summer break”.
Warren Scott, Team BMR – “I’m very proud of everyone in the team for getting us back on track in the championship this weekend but I’m conscious that improvements still need to be made. This is a rear wheel drive circuit and Snetterton is going to be a whole new challenge.”
Paul Tunnicliffe, Automotive Development Director Subaru UK – “After a difficult period of disappointing results, it all came good for us at Croft. The circuit suits the car perfectly, and the few minor tweaks the team made to the engine produced an unstoppable car, as is evidenced by the results achieved in qualifying and the first two races. A little bad luck cost us dear, especially in Race Three, when Ash looked good for another podium, but we move to Snetterton in good heart. There’s plenty more left in this championship, and we intend being there at the finish.”
Gerry Bucke, General Manager, Adrian Flux Insurance Services – "This weekend at Croft saw an amazing turnaround for both Ash and Jason. It has been a challenging season so far - but it was brilliant to see both Adrian Flux drivers on the podium and Ash earning a double victory. Team BMR has been working exceptionally hard to improve things, and everyone should be proud of these results."
Micky Sergeant, BMR Team Manager – “We’ll take that! Front row lock out in qualy, a 1-2 for Ash and Jason in race one and another victory for Ash in race two. Yes it’s undoubtedly THE rear wheel drive circuit of the season and yes we had very little weight on but massive credit to the team for all their hard work in such a short turnaround time to get us where we are.”
Written by Maddy Turner