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Ashley Sutton extends Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship lead at Silverstone

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Ashley Sutton stepped onto the podium for the eighth time this season as he extended his Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship lead at Silverstone at the weekend.

The Bishop's Stortford driver claimed a pair of top-six finishes before coming third in the final race as he increased his lead at the top of the standings by seven points to 36.

And there are just six races of the season left, starting with the penultimate set of three at Donington Park on October 9-10, as the defending champion looks to retain the title.

Fine-tuning his Infiniti Q50 during Saturday's two practice sessions, the former Birchwood High School student produced yet another superlative qualifying performance despite carrying 75kg of success ballast.

Adjudged to have exceeded track limits on four occasions during the session, Sutton managed to progress into the top-10 showdown and from there he punched in a time good enough to secure eighth on the grid for the first of Sunday's three races.

Launching off the fourth row of the grid for the opening race, the 27-year-old produced a measured drive to move up the order and take the chequered flag in sixth.

Ashley Sutton on the podium at Silverstone. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography (51627451)
Ashley Sutton on the podium at Silverstone. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography (51627451)

Race two could be likened to a high-speed game of chess as a number of title contenders, including Sutton, jostled for position towards the front of the field.

Jumping into sixth on lap one, the two-time champion then hounded the back of Colin Turkington for much of the bout. Weighing up the risk versus reward, the Laser Tools Racing competitor slipped past team-mate Aiden Moffat at the line to clinch fifth.

Following a post-race penalty and subsequent disqualification for second-placed driver Josh Cook, Sutton was promoted to fourth to further bolster his points haul.

Starting the reverse-grid contest from eighth, Sutton brought the curtain down on another solid weekend with an impressive charge to third.

Making a few moves early on, he produced two superb overtakes on Chris Smiley and Stephen Jelley to jump into third and that would be where he finished.

"Standing on that podium is a great way to end the weekend," said Sutton. "Race one and two were all about bagging the points, but that third race was a great opportunity to open up that advantage in the standings and, if anything, a podium was a slight overachievement.

"We had great pace all day, but it was about managing things and weighing up the risk versus reward.

"In race three I was able to show what the car is capable of, but I didn't quite have enough laps to catch the top two - I gave it a good go though!

"To leave Silverstone with a 36-point lead is mega and a job well done by everyone at Laser Tools Racing.

"I'm really looking forward to Donington Park. If you look back to last year we had a win there on what was our first weekend with the car and since then we've really moved things on.

"The car is phenomenal and we've got a few little things up our sleeve so I'm buzzing to get there and manage that gap at the top!"

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