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BTCC: Sutton reflects on impressive maiden BTCC campaign

MG's Ashley Sutton brings his impressive debut BTCC campaign to a close by securing the coveted Jack Sears Trophy at the Brands Hatch finale.
MG's Ashley Sutton says he has accomplished everything he wanted to during his maiden British Touring Car Championship campaign after securing the coveted Jack Sears Trophy at Brands Hatch.

Sutton's graduation from the Renault Clio Cup championship to the BTCC has been an eye-catching affair. The Triple Eight Racing driver stamped his authority on the series by taking his first win, pole position and podium before finishing an eventual 13th in the points table.

The 22-year old ended 2016 as the top rookie ahead of Michael Epps and subsequently clinched the Jack Sears Trophy at the season finale.

In a year which marked the passing of Jack Sears, the trophy was poignantly presented to Sutton by David Sears, son of the much loved BTCC legend 'Gentleman Jack'.

"At the start of the year I made a list of four things I wanted to achieve. Up until this round I achieved three of them; pole position, podium and a win. Winning the Jack Sears trophy was the fourth one. Absolutely perfect," Sutton told Crash.net.

"It's been a learning curve coming in from the Clio Cup. I think I've adapted to it very quickly. It's just learning the ins and outs of the BTCC. That's the bit where I've had to really get my round.

"I'm now going to work on the areas that we didn't quite master this year and use that to our upper hand next season."

Sutton took his first win in the series back in Croft but admitted taming those treacherous conditions to hand MG its only win of 2016, exceeded his expectations.

The Triple Eight driver did lead home team mate Josh Cook in an MG one-two at Silverstone but the pair were subsequently disqualified from the result due to technical infringement.

"I didn't think we would quite get that win. It's not easy. In the Clio's it was a little bit different but coming into the BTCC is a whole different ballgame. To get that first win was a proper achievement – that was the highlight," Sutton continued.

"With a factory drive you've got always meet expectations. Obviously Josh [Cook] was always going to be pushing me because he did a fantastic job last year. We'll knew what he was capable of but nobody knew what I was capable of.

"I got given the chance by the team and MG and I like to think I gave them everything they expected."

With his thoughts turning ahead to 2017, Sutton hopes to build upon his partnership forged with the Triple Eight squad by returning to the series with MG next season.

"We've had our highs and lows. We went from winning at Croft to writing the car off at Snetterton. Unfortunately that is the BTCC. You've got to take the rough with the smooth," said Sutton.

"I obviously want to come back and remain involved with MG and Triple Eight because I feel we've built up a great partnership. I like to think we'll be back but you never know."



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