Bishop's Stortford motor racing stars Ashley Sutton and Callum Ilott involved in fascinating British Touring Car Championship and Formula Two title races
Things are heating up for Bishop's Stortford motor racing stars Ashley Sutton and Callum Ilott after a weekend of highs and lows in their respective championship title battles.
Former Birchwood High School student Sutton enjoyed two race wins in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill as he cut Colin Turkington's lead at the top to 10 points.
But there was disappointment for ex-Bishop's Stortford College pupil Ilott as an early retirement in the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium saw him slip to second place in the Formula Two standings.
At Knockhill in Scotland, Sutton scored a pair of lights-to-flag victories having already made history with the first pole position for the Infiniti Q50 thanks to having too much for his rivals in qualifying.
Making a perfect start off the line, he produced a superlative drive to secure a commanding win in race one around what is the independent Laser Tools Racing's home circuit.
Wasting no time in asserting himself at the head of the field, the rear-wheel-drive ace pulled more than a second clear of second place by the end of the first lap. However, an early safety car period eradicated that advantage.
Judging the restart to perfection, the 26-year-old did not put a foot wrong as he fended off race-long pressure from title rival Turkington to clinch his third win of the year.
Gaining an extra 6kg of success ballast for race two, the 2017 champion produced a carbon copy of his opening race performance to clinch a second win of the day.
Converting pole position into the lead, Sutton positioned his car perfectly at every turn to cover the threat from Turkington and ultimately clinch a 17th career victory.
Lining up in 11th for race three virtue of the reverse-grid draw, he rounded off what proved to be a memorable weekend with another measured drive to secure a handful of crucial points.
"I'm over the moon," said Sutton. "Coming into the weekend I knew we had to start eating into Colin's advantage and we've done just that with pole position and two lights-to-flag race wins.
"Colin pushed me hard in races one and two. We were strong at different points at the circuit, but I knew where to cover him off and managed to bring it home.
"We maximised every point that was on offer up across qualifying, race one and race two, and getting the fastest lap was key in both. Race three was just about consolidating and seeing what points we could score.
"That's the fourth meeting in the books now so there's still a long way to go and lots can happen."
Sutton will head to Thruxton for the fifth of nine race weekends on September 19-20.
Meanwhile, Ilott is now 10 points adrift of new F2 championship leader Robert Shwartzman after events in Belgium.
He went into Sunday's sprint race at the top of the leaderboard, but was forced to retire on the first lap after a coming together with Yuki Tsunoda.
The UNI-Virtuosi Racing driver was tagged by the front wing of feature race winner Tsunoda, which spun him to a halt, ending his race and bringing out an early safety car.
With Ilott out of contention, PREMA Racing's Shwartzman also took advantage of an early collision between race leaders Roy Nissany and Dan Ticktum to get into first and close out a controlled victory.
Taking to Twitter after the race, Ilott said: "Didn't really know where to go, cars coming from all angles on and off the track. Next thing I know I'm the wrong way around. Not our weekend at all."
Ilott was 10th in the feature race the previous day. Nikita Mazepin crossed the line first, but it was Tsunoda who clinched his second F2 victory after the former was handed a late time penalty.
Ilott will be hoping for better luck this weekend when the championship resumes at Monza in Italy.