Reigning Kwik Fit British Touring Car Champion Ash Sutton wrapped-up the opening event of the 2022 season with a second place finish at Donington Park National Circuit on Sunday, 24th April, to ensure a fantastic podium for the NAPA Racing UK entry on its first weekend in the championship.
Qualifying third fastest for his first race with the hybrid mountune-powered front-wheel drive Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus ST, Sutton claimed fourth in round one, sixth in round two and then impressed further in the final race with the runner-up spot – just a couple of seconds shy of the win.
Conversely, team-mate Dan Cammish’s fortunes on his first weekend with NAPA Racing UK couldn’t have been more different after a luckless car fire in qualifying on Saturday, 23rd April, caused by a split fuel line, almost ended his Donington challenge before it truly started.
Mounting a Herculean effort to repair the No.9 Ford for raceday, the Motorbase mechanics worked through the night until three o’clock on Sunday morning before then returning to the track at 07.00 to continue the reassembly. Ensuring Cammish was on the grid for round one, from 28th and last he charged to 16th place. His weekend best of 13th came in round three after a race two puncture.
Sam Osborne and Ollie Jackson also experienced misfortune on raceday, the Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan pairing each encountering throttle-related problems. For Jackson, this led to retirements from both rounds one and two, although in round three he posted a 19th place finish. Osborne, who starred in qualifying with the 13th fastest time, delivered his weekend best of 17th in race three.
Oly Collins – Motorbase Performance Team Manager:
“What a weekend! I think we covered most of the emotions available in the last two days. Firstly, a huge thanks to the whole team to turn around what was a monumental task on Dan’s car from the fire on Saturday and the marshals who were on the scene. That’s the last thing we could have done with at the first round but, as always, the main thing is that Dan reacted quickly and got out unharmed and then the Motorbase crew worked through the night to turn it all around.
“Great results for Ash on race day to put him P3 in the championship, he drove in the manner we’ve seen in recent years which has helped him win championships and he got a solid start to this year’s campaign this weekend. Unfortunately, we couldn’t unlock the race pace from the car for Dan. The one lap pace from the Focus is fantastic, we just need to work on keeping the tyres alive for longer.
“Ollie and Sam were just unbelievably unlucky with problems beyond the team’s control. It seems like a simple software update has affected our throttle system which has cost Ollie and Sam some good points finishes. NAPA Racing UK have their first podium in the bank and now we head to Brands aiming for much more.”
Ollie Jackson ahead of Sam Osborne
Ash Sutton – NAPA Racing UK, No.1:
“We’ve been playing catch up which is a shame because yesterday [Saturday] the one-lap pace was phenomenal, it’s just getting back into front-wheel drive. We’re learning things so I’m pleased with that, we deserved it with what the boys have been putting into it, especially from Dan’s car as well, obviously they’ve done a tremendous job. So, from NAPA Racing UK, a sterling job. We’ve now got some more data and it’s about learning – what do we need to do now to try and unlock a bit more.”
Dan Cammish – NAPA Racing UK, No.9:
“It’s been a tough first weekend for us, but everybody has worked so hard and I can’t thank the boys enough for getting my car onto the grid for the first race. The fire in qualifying was devastating, after looking at the damage it had caused then you really couldn’t have expected we’d be ready for race one. Everyone at NAPA Racing UK and Motorbase put in so much and I’m thankful we were able to get some important data in the races. We’ll build from here and come back stronger at Brands.”
Ollie Jackson – Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan, No.48:
“Definitely a weekend to forget all round unfortunately, a software issue caused a premature end to both races one and two before tyre damage put an end to good progress through the field in race three. We had strong pace but when the vibration appeared I backed right off to bring it home and give the boys one hard earned finish for the weekend. Thanks to Jenner, my engineer, and the guys this weekend. Despite the challenges they kept their spirits up and worked immensely hard as well as supporting the whole Motorbase Performance team working tirelessly to get Dan’s car back out on track on Sunday – a huge effort guys, well done!”
Sam Osborne – Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan, No.77:
“It’s disappointing we had the throttle problem in two of the races, but I’m actually feeling pretty positive about things as we showed really strong pace in qualifying and race one especially. The whole team has done a fantastic job, we were just unlucky with a few things here at Donington this weekend but that’s how it goes sometimes in racing. I’m looking forward to Brands now.”
Rounds four, five and six of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season will take place at Motorbase’s home track, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, over the weekend 14th/15th May.
2022 BTCC Drivers Championship
3rd Ash Sutton, 40pts; 17th Dan Cammish, 3pts; Ollie Jackson/Sam Osborne, 0pts
2022 BTCC Manufacturers/Constructors Championship
2nd Motorbase Performance/Ford, 69pts
2022 BTCC Teams Championship
4th NAPA Racing UK, 44pts; Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan, 0pts
2022 Jack Sears Trophy
5th Sam Osborne, 35pts