Ash Sutton secures pole ahead of Jason Plato in damp qualifying

Ash Sutton secures pole ahead of Jason Plato in damp qualifying

Photo: PSP Images

Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Ash Sutton secured pole position for the opening race of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship, edging out former team-mate Jason Plato in a greasy qualifying session.

After mixed conditions so far today [6 April] at Brands Hatch, the half-hour session was interrupted by three separate red flags, with Sutton setting the pole time of 53.602s following the second stoppage.

The track improved progressively throughout the session, with Tom Oliphant setting the benchmark in the first third before Ash Sutton eclipsed it and then improved on his time later on in drier, but still very greasy conditions.

Just 0.167s behind was Sutton’s former team-mate Plato, ahead of reigning champion Colin Turkington who improved late on in the session to leapfrog BMW stablemate Andrew Jordan in fourth, ahead of Tom Oliphant in fifth as the new BMWs shone.

Next was the Team Dynamics duo of Matt Neal and Dan Cammish in sixth and seventh respectively, with Tom Ingram’s new-for-2019 Toyota Corolla in eighth position.

With many runners fitting new wet tyres after the red flag stoppages, late improvements included an impressive performance from Stephen Jelley who posted a time good enough for eighth in the previous generation BMW 125i M Sport, although the BMW1-series driver would later have his times disallowed for a ride-height infringement.

AmD’s Sam Tordoff and BTC Racing’s Josh Cook completed the top ten, but Tordoff was the cause for the second red flag period after locking up and going straight into the barriers at Druids. Cook didn’t run in the second half of the session, likely a repeat of the electrical gremlins which have plagued his weekend thus far.

The other stoppages were caused by Ollie Jackson beaching his Ford Focus RS in the gravel at Clearways, while series newcomer Mark Blundell replicated Tordoff’s incident at Druids to necessitate the third red flag.

Rory Butcher, who is now being engineered by former Team HARD racer Mike Bushell, was 11th ahead of Cook’s team-mate Chris Smiley.

Tom Chilton led Motorbase Performance’s effort in 13th with Matt Simpson and Jake Hill rounding out the top 15.

The opening race of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship is set to get underway at 11:30 BST tomorrow [7 April].

Qualifying result

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 29 53.602 0.000
2 11 M Jason PLATO Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 28 53.769 0.167
3 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 29 53.773 0.171
4 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 330i M Sport 26 53.852 0.250
5 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 30 53.904 0.302
6 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 30 53.942 0.340
7 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 24 53.948 0.346
8 80 M Tom INGRAM Team Toyota GB with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 26 53.985 0.383
9 600 I Sam TORDOFF Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 15 54.087 0.485
10 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 18 54.175 0.573
11 6 I Rory BUTCHER Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Honda Civic Type R 23 54.186 0.584
12 22 I Chris SMILEY BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R 28 54.188 0.586
13 3 I Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 28 54.202 0.600
14 303 I Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 28 54.231 0.629
15 24 I Jake HILL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 25 54.265 0.663
16 9 M Rob COLLARD Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 29 54.267 0.665
17 18 M Senna PROCTOR Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg 29 54.452 0.850
18 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 20 54.604 1.002
19 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 26 54.690 1.088
20 28 I Nicolas HAMILTON ROKiT Racing with Motorbase Ford Focus RS 25 54.693 1.091
21 32 I Daniel ROWBOTTOM Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 30 54.715 1.113
22 33 I Adam MORGAN Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 27 54.787 1.185
23 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 28 54.835 1.233
24 777 I Michael CREES GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct Volkswagen CC 26 55.117 1.515
25 37 I Rob SMITH Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 27 55.195 1.593
26 4 I Sam OSBORNE Exceler8 Motorsport MG6 27 55.543 1.941
27 48 I Ollie JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 4 55.821 2.219
28 8 I Mark BLUNDELL TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 17 55.824 2.222
29 41 I Carl BOARDLEY RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 26 55.900 2.298
30 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 26 Disallowed N/A