08/05/2015

Sutton 'still to peak' in Clio Cup

Ashley Sutton says his best is yet to come in the Renault UK Clio Cup as he arrives at Thruxton this weekend (9/10 May) eager to claw back ground on championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales.
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Sutton has been a revelation in his maiden Clio Cup season with two pole positions, a win and two second places in the season’s first four rounds (that would have been three seconds had a time penalty at Donington not demoted him to seventh).

Indeed it’s that seventh place which has cost the Team BMR Restart with Pyro ace – he trails SV Racing’s Whorton-Eales (two wins, two second places and three fastest laps) by 22 points.

“Those three fastest laps Ant has taken – there are six points right there,” said Sutton. “It’s an area still to work on for me and of course the P7 at Donington hasn’t helped. It meant he’s been able to extend his lead without worrying about it too much. I’m going to Thruxton in a fighting mood and want to win some points back.

“I am sure there is more time to find in me as a driver as opposed to the car – I am still relatively new to it. My best is yet to come. I’m also seeing things in the data where I can be that bit better.”

Sutton was second only to Pyro team-mate Ash Hand in official Clio Cup testing at Thruxton recently. He knows both will need to work together if they are to out-perform Whorton-Eales as well as others in Saturday’s key qualifying session that will decide the starting grid order for both of Sunday’s races (based on fastest and second-fastest times).

“The new Dunlop tyre is mega but they take so much punishment at Thruxton due to the high speeds and abrasive track surface,” added Sutton. “I think they will only be good for one banzai lap before the best is taken out of them.

“It’ll be so important to get your banzai laps right as there’ll only really be two chances at it. Ash and I practiced slipstreaming one another on the test day as a good tow – particularly if there is a head wind – can be worth half a second between Goodwood and up to the final chicane.

“The slipstreaming effect also means it’s going to be very hard to break away in the races. The only chance will be if everybody else starts squabbling behind – you could easily win from sixth on the grid, like Ash did at Donington. We were all able to slipstream one another around there and the slipstream there isn’t as crucial as it is at Thruxton.”