Ashley Sutton overcomes food poisoning to extend Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship lead at Knockhill
Ashley Sutton overcame a bout of food poisoning to extend his lead at the summit of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship to 14 points at Knockhill.
In addition to fourth- and fifth-place finishes, the Bishop's Stortford racer charged to a famous victory in race two around the Fife venue after forcing title rival Colin Turkington into a minor error on the last lap.
Having been ill throughout Saturday, the reigning champion emerged as one of the leading lights as he dug deep to produce a sensational lap in qualifying.
Despite being ladened with 75kg of success ballast, the former Birchwood High School student set a lap time less than two tenths of a second away from pole position to secure sixth on the grid for the opening contest.
Fighting fit on Sunday, the Laser Tools Racing driver held his ground during the early stages and came to the fore as the race wore on, settling for fourth as the chequered flag fell.
Shedding weight and bolting the soft tyre on for race two, Sutton, 27, was up into second place by lap nine and then began his pursuit of race leader Turkington.
Drawing closer and closer to the BMW driver as the laps ticked by, he piled on the pressure until Turkington took too much kerb through the chicane and ran wide on the final tour, opening the door for him to take the lead and power on to victory.
Starting what was a frenetic reverse-grid contest from ninth, Sutton rounded off his weekend in Scotland with another sensational drive. Once again carrying maximum ballast, the championship leader hustled his way up the order to finish fifth.
"What a weekend! Considering I wasn't feeling too great on Saturday I'm over the moon to have come away with another win and, more importantly, extending our lead at the top of the standings," said Sutton.
"Colin [Turkington] had mega pace all weekend but going into race two, I knew that we would have the upper hand given the difference in weight. Once I got into second it was all about getting my head down, firing in qualifying laps and piling on the pressure.
"When he made that small mistake I was straight in there, I didn't need a second invitation. It's always great racing with someone like Colin as there is that mutual respect; you leave room, you squeeze each other, but it's all fair - that's my style of racing.
"Scoring a fourth and fifth was the cherry on top of a great weekend. As always, the guys and girls at Laser Tools Racing have done a mega job and that win is for them."
Next up for Sutton is rounds 16, 17 and 18 at Thruxton on the weekend of August 28-29.