Reid de­nied

“MG has got two hun­gry young lions”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

An­thony Reid was de­nied an un­ex­pected re­turn to pro­to­type rac­ing for the first time since 2002 af­ter a last-minute at­tempt to race in the Euro­pean Le Mans Se­ries was scup­pered by him not hold­ing an of­fi­cial driver-rat­ing sta­tus. Reid was set to race the Mur­phy Pro­to­types Ligier LMP3 along­side Michael Cullen and Tony Ave.

The peck­ing or­der of the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship is be­ing es­tab­lished as the sea­son is six races old. While Honda has done most of the points col­lect­ing with a trio of BMWS on its heals, one of the most pleas­ing as­pects has been the form of MG.

The fac­tory team came in with a blaze of glory and two-time ti­tle win­ner Ja­son Plato in 2012, and although it won races, the ex­pected break­through didn’t hap­pen. Even when the 2013 ti­tle win­ner An­drew Jor­dan signed for the 2015 sea­son, it only took one vic­tory across the course of the sea­son – and that was with Jor­dan’s team-mate Jack Goff.

Jor­dan jumped ship to Mo­tor­base Per­for­mance to drive a Ford Fo­cus, and so Triple Eight, which is now al­lied to Team BMR, found it­self in the lurch.

Step for­ward Josh Cook and Re­nault Clio Cup cham­pion Ash­ley Sut­ton. Cook’s po­ten­tial in the BTCC was known. He’d led a race in his maiden sea­son in 2015 when driv­ing for the Power Maxed Rac­ing team in a Chevrolet Cruze. He then went on to take a podium fin­ish at Rock­ing­ham later in the year. The in­gre­di­ents were clearly there, but no one re­ally knew just how good he could be.

And then there is Sut­ton, who has a straighttalk­ing, forth­right ap­proach to his sport. He is here to get the job done, and he is not in­tim­i­dated by any­thing – let alone the step up to the top flight.

They have both pushed each other hard, and locked out the front row in qual­i­fy­ing at Doning­ton Park last week­end. OK, so the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion might have been blighted by poor weather and a red flag that ru­ined the plans of oth­ers, but you had to be in the game to win it. They cer­tainly were.

Cook mounted the podium in race one af­ter a strong drive af­ter beat­ing his pole-win­ning team-mate away from the line. It was a good marker for Cook, be­cause he trails Sut­ton in the points al­ready – even though it is early in the sea­son and the mar­gins are fine. Cook is only nine points adrift.

There is a re­spect be­tween the two and they know that they will both have to per­form to beat each other, let alone the rest. And that has had a re­ally pos­i­tive ef­fect on the team as a whole too. Triple Eight is a happy place to be again, af­ter all the tra­vails it had last sea­son with the frus­trated Jor­dan.

And that step up in per­for­mance, al­lied to a stronger TOCA-BTCC Swin­don en­gine, means that wins are only a mat­ter of time. Which of the two young lions will get the first will be the in­ter­est­ing thing to watch.

Cook and Sut­ton have turned heads at MG

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