BTCC heads to Croft in Yorkshire for Ash Sutton’s 100th championship race

BTCC BMR

Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, run by Team BMR, travels to Croft this weekend for the next three rounds of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship.

2017 BTCC champion Ash Sutton will take part in his 100th BTCC race and looks to strengthen his championship position at a key time in the season. He currently sits 4th in the championship table, just five points behind joint leaders Colin Turkington and Rory Butcher after nine races.

The team has seen a very solid start to the 2019 season, as BMR’s chief engineer Antonio Carrozza explains:

“I think we have had a strong points scoring start to the season so far. Brands Hatch and Donington weekends were both helped by wet or mixed conditions in qualifying which have always suited the Subaru Levorg. This set the team up on both occasions to capitalise on the Sunday.

“Thruxton was a tough weekend, as overtaking at the high-speed circuit is difficult, meaning that the Saturday afternoon qualifying sessions are of paramount importance. This showed when both Subarus struggled to make progress on Sunday, and although Ash scored good points throughout the weekend, this was mainly due to the strong qualifying position and the luck of the reverse grid draw for the final encounter on Sunday.”

Ash Sutton was similarly positive about 2019: “This season so far has been very successful,” he says, “we are in a much stronger position compared to previous years.

“We haven’t been this high up in the standings at this stage ever in my BTCC career.”

Croft

Located a few miles off the A1 near Scotch Corner and Darlington, the North Yorkshire circuit is Senna Proctor’s home race. It’s often cited as favouring rear wheel drive cars due to the nature of its very slow corners, which require great rear traction on exit.

Antonio Carrozza explains more:

“We now come to circuits that are more suited to the Levorg, such as Croft, Oulton Park and Snetterton.

“Croft has always been a rear wheel drive circuit with good traction and chassis balance being the key features to secure a good lap time. It has been resurfaced this Spring and early indications are that the laptime will be 1.5-2 seconds a lap quicker, with significantly lower tyre wear.

“This may make the Croft weekend more difficult as we will almost certainly have less of an advantage over the front wheel drive cars, but it will still favour the Levorg.”

Ash Sutton told us more about Croft’s challenges.

“Croft is normally the turning point for myself,” he admits, “it’s a track that I have always gone well at, one I gel with and requires that commitment.

“Ever since 2014 and my return to racing we have picked up silverware here. One key thing this year is the new surface, I’m not sure how much of an effect this is going to have but I have a sneaky suspicion that it is going to help the FWD cars.

“As always, I will keep my head down and be aiming to do the best job possible…!”

Ash’s young team mate Senna Proctor is relishing the chance to gain more experience and more points this weekend. He had this to say:

“I’m looking forward to Croft, not only is it my home circuit but also one of my favourites. I finished on the podium last year and hope to do the same this year, the Subaru is strong around Croft and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel!”

Speaking on behalf of Adrian Flux, General Manager Gerry Bucke said:

“We share the team’s excitement as we look forward to Croft, a circuit that features a couple of tight corners which should suit the Adrian Flux Subaru Levorgs.

“If Ash can perform as well as he has done so far this season it’ll certainly be a weekend to remember, and with the first race of the day being his 100th BTCC race he’ll be sure to put on a show for the fans.”

Ash Sutton podium BTCC

A change of venue compared to Rounds 10,11 and 12 last year

Last year, rounds 10,11 and 12 of the BTCC were held at Oulton Park, where Ash scored just a handful of points, but came back with a vengeance at the next three rounds at the Croft circuit, igniting his championship challenge for the year with two victories in rounds 13 and 14.

Senna’s experience at Croft last year was also impressive with a podium in round 15, the final race of the day, whilst driving a Vauxhall Astra.

Watch it on TV

If you’re unable to find your way to the circuit to experience BTCC in the flesh then don’t despair, ITV4 will once again be showing live coverage (available in HD) of 2019 BTCC rounds, with extensive coverage of the support races including Ginettas and Clios.

Qualifying will be live online on Saturday (June 15, 2019) at http://itv.com/btcc.

Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the BTCC (as well as coverage of the support races) will be shown on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, Sunday (June 16, 2019) from 11:15am.

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Photo credits (including header photo): Jakob Ebrey

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