Sutton Comes on Top as Cook Receives Race Ban at Rockingham BTCC Weekend
26th to 27th of August saw another triple round BTCC weekend head up to North of England, this time to a Northamptonshire based Rockingham circuit. As the championship nears to its end, steaks are getting undoubtedly high, which is evident in the number and seriousness of penalties received by the drivers this time round. Round 22 saw Stephen Jelley receiving a £500 fine and three penalty points for incidents involving Senna Proctor and Matt Simpson, while Martin Depper was officially reprimanded and received two penalty points for an incident involving Brett Smith.
Rounds 23 and 24 were rather unfortunate for the MG Racing RCIB Insurance driver Josh Cook, who was first reprimanded and received two penalty points, which was his third strike and lead to him starting Round 24 from the back of the grid. Round 24 did not look any better, Cook was fined £500 and received three penalty points, which was his fourth strike and constitutes a one race ban. His team have appealed the decision, which will be heard on Friday 15 September at Silverstone, if not overturned this race ban will be the first one to take place since 2001.
However, Cook did show some good effort throughout the three rounds, with a fourth place finish in Round 22, a highest finish for MG team this season. When asked to comment on his Rockingham performance, Cook said: “Qualifying was very tricky for us at Rockingham whilst battling a few car gremlins, however we were lucky to pull a P8 starting position in the final moments. With these problems solved for Race One the pace is clearly in the MG having our season best result of fourth, as well as being 0.02 seconds off the fastest lap of the race. We were very unlucky in Race Two having our race ended early after a slightly miscalculated overtake by a Honda at Turn Two. Starting from the back of the grid in Race Three was always going to be tough on the hard tyre – however this race was also cut short after a mechanical failure under braking at the end of the straight. There is clearly great pace in the MG which is leaving us excited for the remainder of the season.”
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Ash Sutton showed another magnificent performance at Rockingham BTCC weekend and earned himself a sixth race win of the season with a comfortable 2,43s advantage in Round 23. The 23 year old finished the overall meeting with a 12 points advantage above second place holder, Team BMW’s Colin Turkington in the championship standings board. Halford’s Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden in the meantime struggled to push himself into a single top 10 finish and fell 50 points behind Sutton.
Sutton commented on his success and thoughts about the Rockingham BTCC weekend: “Overall thoughts from the weekend, I’m very very pleased. Race one went to plan, especially for James, that was a particularly great result for him and to get a one-two finish was good. Race two was a case of just get out of there and it was great to get another solid result, to pick up really strong points and the fastest lap was what we needed. Race three however was a bit more of a challenge with dropping back to eleventh it wasn’t quite as easy to come back from there but we stayed out of trouble and to top it off we overtook Turkington which was the main aim. Thoughts for Silverstone are that it’s going to get difficult, but I’ve got a few things that I want to try in qualifying but carrying seventy-five kilos round there is going to hurt so we will see.”
Power Maxed Racing’s Senna Proctor claimed another Jack Sears Trophy success, as the 19 year old driver maintains his firm grip on the overall rookie honours.