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Ashley Sutton recovers from tricky qualifying session to record top-10 hat-trick at Brands Hatch in Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship

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Ashley Sutton was pleased to recover from a tricky qualifying session to record a top-10 hat-trick on the second Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race weekend of the season.

The defending champion came fourth, sixth and ninth at Brands Hatch to maintain third place in the standings.

The Bishop's Stortford-based NAPA Racing UK driver endured a tough time in qualifying on the Kent venue's 1.2-mile Indy circuit as he battled to find the balance in his Ford Focus ST before setting the 18th-fastest time.

Sutton, 28, began the first race in wet conditions on the ninth row and moved up the field thanks to several overtakes to take the chequered flag in ninth.

As the rain continued to fall, the former Birchwood High School fought his way forward once more in race two and set the fastest lap as he just missed out on a podium finish in fourth.

And the three-times champion again showed his overtaking skills in challenging conditions as he moved up three places to finish the reverse-grid contest in sixth.

Ashley Sutton in BTCC action at Brands Hatch. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography (56698285)
Ashley Sutton in BTCC action at Brands Hatch. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography (56698285)

"Considering where we were after qualifying on Saturday, I'm pretty happy to come away with three top-10 finishes and still sitting third in the championship," said Sutton, who is 21 points adrift of leader Tom Ingram.

"I'd say we were helped a little bit by the weather on Sunday, but the car certainly felt better and I was able to make progress in all three races.

"I love those sorts of conditions and the fact we were able to look after the tyres meant that I could keep pushing right until the end.

"We're going to have a good chat and a debrief in the coming days so that we can get a better understanding of how we get the car in that sweet spot.

"At the moment we are a little cornered and we're just trying to find an exit. We'll get there and once we do we'll be well in the mix."

Sutton and his BTCC rivals head to Thruxton - the fastest circuit in the UK - for rounds seven, eight and nine on the weekend of May 28-29.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how we get on there. I think the hybrid deployment and its impact will be quite interesting," said Sutton.

"The car should be strong there - it certainly was at the season launch - so I'm confident we can get amongst it."

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