The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has marked its 60th anniversary at Snetterton in fine style so far this weekend (July 28/29), with Jack Goff and Ashley Sutton scoring wins in races one and two respectively.
In what is a totally unique meeting for the series, the opening two 12-lap encounters around the Norfolk venue are likely to live long in the memory.
Qualifying for race one of the weekend proved to be a record-breaking affair as Goff scorched his way to pole position in the searing heat. Powering his WIX Racing with Eurotech Honda Civic Type R to the top of the times at mid-point in the session, his 1:55.556 wasn’t to be bettered, giving him a second pole of the season.
Joining Goff on the front row was Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish in second whilst row two was made up of two more Civic Type R’s, Matt Simpson and Brett Smith.
Torrential rain and a bumper trackside crowd greeted the drivers on Sunday, with the weather adding further spice to the already unpredictable track action.
With all cars on wet tyres, Goff turned his front row start into a race lead that he ultimately would never lose, however it wasn’t easy. As the Honda driver enjoyed a strong start, reigning champion Ashley Sutton had an even stronger one as he scythed his way through the field, going from ninth to second on the opening tour.
Losing ground in the early stages to Goff, Sutton soon began to set fastest lap after fastest lap, closing the gap to Goff in the process. With just a handful of laps to go, Goff’s mirrors were soon filled with Subaru Levorg of Sutton, shades of 2017 where the pair diced for a victory at Snetterton then.
Having defended for a majority of the final lap, Goff found himself having a lary moment through the Bombhole, allowing Sutton to close the gap. Attempting to go around the outside of the Honda driver at Coram, Sutton was on the inside and in the lead exiting the final corner and onto the straight. In a drag race to the line, Goff and Sutton went door-to-door in the run to the line, with Goff emerging as the victor.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish rounded off the podium with a measured drive in third place; Josh Cook and Sam Tordoff capping off the top five.
The second encounter of the day saw drama before the race had even begun. Following on from his earlier victory, Goff missed the window to leave the pit lane and was forced to start from the back of the grid, automatically ending his hopes of scoring a second win.
With the rain having eased off, slick tyres were chosen by everyone and Sutton took advantage of the clear road ahead of him to storm to his third victory of the year. Despite coming under early pressure from Cammish, the 23-year-old was able to pull away from the Honda driver as the laps ticked by.
Further back, Tom Ingram proved to be the one to watch as he threaded his way up the order having started in P27. Championship leader Colin Turkington meanwhile endured a torrid time, suffering contact on the first lap that ended his race early.
Following a brief safety car period late on, Sutton attempted to make his escape but soon found himself defending on the final lap to Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Cook. Despite the best efforts of Cook, Sutton maintained his lead to thrust himself into title contention.
Ingram meanwhile continued to pick off his rivals and clinched third place on the line, taking his overtaking tally to 24 in race two.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will cap off the weekend at Snetterton with the Diamond Double, a 60-mile race with double points on offer. Scheduled to start at 17:15, Goff will once again start on pole position with Matt Neal joining him on the front row.
For the full classification of results from rounds 16 and 17, click here.