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The Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Team visited Thruxton Circuit last weekend as the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship descended on the Hampshire venue for the second time this season.  Once again, the pair of Subaru Levorg’s struggled with pace at the high-speed circuit with Ash Sutton squeezing a trio of point-scoring finishes as teammate Senna Proctor endured a weekend of setbacks and dramas.

Qualifying on Saturday afternoon went as we expected with the times being very close at the top.  Ash was weighed down with 24kg of success ballast from sitting 6th in the championship with Senna being weight free.  The 30-minute session started off with rain showers so both Ash and Senna managed to set a pair of quick lap times early as the Subaru suited the damp conditions.  Unfortunately, the rain didn’t hang around for long and as the track dried the times improved and the Adrian Flux Insurance backed duo ended the session in 12th and 18th respectively.

Race One

Starting mid-pack is never an ideal position for the opening race of the day for any driver, however, the BMR pair made decent starts as usual off the line.  Ash immediately found himself surrounded by the BMW’s as he tried to carve his way through on the first lap with Senna following him through very close behind, both cars received contact although luckily avoided any big dramas.  By the time they had reached the timing line at the end of lap 1 Ash had dropped back to 14th with Senna on his tail and looking comfortable in 15th having gained three positions.

Soon however the news filtered through that Jason Plato received a drive-through penalty for being out of position at the start, which in turn promoted both Subaru drivers a further place up the order. Ash made up another two positions on the next lap as he wrung the neck of his Subaru Levorg, whilst Senna lost a couple of places as he lost time on the straights and was hanging on to the single point scoring position of 15th.

Ash soon had his mirrors full of the Honda of  Matt Neal mid-race as he defended his 12th position and eventually shrugged him off by passing the BMW of Colin Turkington and snatching 11th place on lap 8, before going one further and passing another BMW this time with Andrew Jordan at the wheel and up into 10th.

Meanwhile, a devastated Senna was shown the black and orange mechanical fault flag requesting him to visit the pits for repairs to his bonnet, which resulted in him re-joining the race at the very back of the field in 30th.

After a great battle with the Toyota of Tom Ingram, Ash eventually crossed the line in a strong 9th place with a frustrated Senna bringing his sister Levorg home in a lowly 29th.

Race Two

Once again good starts were made as Ash slotted into 8th place with Senna having made up three places at the back of the field. As the Subarus continued to struggle with straight-line speed Ash soon lost two positions as one of the Honda’s and BMW cruised by on the straight placing him back down to 10th at the end of the opening lap.

Senna continued to fight his way through the pack and was up to 23rd by the end of lap 6, as Ash snuck past Rory Butcher in another of the Honda’s with a late braking manoeuvre heading into The Complex on lap 7 to take 9th place.

Disaster struck once more for Senna at the end of Lap 9 after he was sent into a high-speed spin following contact from the Infiniti of Aiden Moffat, resulting in damage and sending him off circuit. He did, however, manage to re-join the race albeit in last position for the second time in as many races, eventually bringing his battle-scarred Subaru home in 29th.

Ash lost momentum briefly as he had a huge moment after running out wide at Village and catching the grass, thankfully managing to save the car from spinning.  As a consequence, he lost three positions in the process finding himself in 12th.  He did, however, claw a place back crossing the line in 11th to grab those all-important championship points.

Race Three

The third and final race was upon us and with black clouds threatening we were hoping from good vibes from the fans conducting rain dances up and down the country.

The lights were out and it was another quick start without drama as Ash catapulted himself up the field and as a squabbling Ingram and Jordan leant on each other through the bends on the first part of the circuit it resulted in Ash benefitting and up into 6th position.

Senna meanwhile was doing his utmost to stay out of trouble at the back of the pack and had already made his way up to 24th by the end of the first lap.

Ash soon found himself on the defence of Tom Ingram in the Toyota as our prayers were answered and it started to spit with rain.

As the rain continued to threaten so did Senna as the fight went on and he was up to 20th by the end of lap 8.

Ash then lost out to Ingram at the chicane and as he scrambled to take the place back the pair were side by side battling for 6th position which compromised them both and saw them lose out to Josh Cook in the Honda as he went through to claim the position. Ash fought back for the position as he and cook running side by side through Church corner but once again the Subaru lost out on top speed allowing both Plato and Cook through. 

The rain was now hammering down although it was all too late for the Subaru’s who were now running in 8th and 20th with only two laps to go, as Ash lost out again on the final high-speed section to Ingram and crossed the line in 9th.

Ash remains sixth in the overall BTCC Drivers Championship whilst Subaru are fourth in the BTCC Manufacturers/Constructors Championship with Adrian Flux Subaru Racing seventh in BTCC Teams Championship.

Next up the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship heads north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland for Rounds 22, 23 & 24 on the weekend of the 14th and 15th September.


Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Quotes
Gerry Bucke, Adrian Flux General Manager – ‘Thruxton always provides such incredible racing, seeing cars skipping around at over 100mph, and is well-reported to be a circuit which favours front-wheel-drive cars so it was heartening to see just how hard Ash and Senna worked to get the results they did, despite being on the back foot.

‘With the rain coming just a bit too late in the day to even things out, we couldn't quite get to where we'd have loved to be, but we must acknowledge the efforts of everyone who managed to collect silverware.’

Paul Tunnicliffe, Subaru UK – ‘Not the best outcome for us, and certainly not a fair reflection of the hard work put in by the team and drivers. In particular we feel for Senna, for whom the lap times were starting to show great promise.  BTCC can be a cruel game sometimes, and he was on the receiving end of some rotten luck at Thruxton. 

‘We head north to Knockhill with optimism though, that track has been good to us over the years, we need it to come good for us now.’

Senna Proctor – ‘A tough Sunday filled with promise, I think we could have provided three strong results had the mechanical issue not occurred. It was another day filled with what-ifs.

‘I was happy with my performance on Saturday, being within a tenth or so of Ash was positive and bodes well for the remainder of the season.

‘I’m looking forward to Knockhill in just over 3 weeks time, I think I can bring home some good points and hopefully a trophy.

Ashley Sutton – ‘Thruxton was another tough day at the office and once again I was on the limit throughout the weekend.

‘We knew it was going to be a tricky weekend from the outset, but we had extracted absolutely everything from the car and there was nothing more to give. So, it was a case of elbows out to stay in the fight.

‘We were able to remain in the hunt through the corners with the mega Subaru Levorg chassis but we were once again swallowed up on the straights which makes out job that much harder, as it showed in that huge moment in race two.

‘All the Team at Adrian Flux Subaru Racing are doing an amazing job and we will keep fighting.  I’m not sure how Knockhill will pan out but we will give it everything we have with the saving grace being that we have the soft tyre to use and we’re usually strong on that.’

Written by Maddy Turner

Images by Jakob Ebrey Photography