Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton believes he has the “perfect opportunity” to bring down the points deficit to standings leader Colin Turkington after securing pole position for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill.
The 2017 champion has displayed strong pace throughout the day, topping the second practice session before his run was ended prematurely by a right-rear suspension failure.
He made his intentions clear early in qualifying by setting the benchmark times on two separate occasions before improving again to claim Infiniti’s maiden series pole position.
After notching up the marque’s first BTCC victory at the season-opening Donington Park round, Sutton told ITV he was happy to “tick off” pole position from the list of achievements, particularly as qualifying has proved to be the Achilles heel of the car so far this year.
“We needed that, to be fair. Obviously it’s great to get the first Infiniti Q50 pole position, that’s another thing ticked off,” said Sutton.
“It wasn’t easy, the past couple of rounds we’ve just suffered for pace in qualifying trim due to issues in free practice. It was nice to have a clean day today for sure.”
He was full of praise for his Laser Tools Racing squad who repaired the car between FP2 and qualifying, and believes they couldn’t have provided him with a better car for qualifying at their home circuit.
“We put a fresher set of tyres on like everyone else on the grid did in free practice two, so we got a bit more of an indication of where we were at,” he said.
“But that was the first time on a new tyre and the car was absolutely spot on. BMR Laser Tools Racing have done a sterling job with it, I couldn’t have asked for a better car.”
With the gap in the standings between Sutton and defending champion Colin Turkington currently at 19 points, the Infiniti racer was pleased to have secured the bonus point for pole position and believes now is the “prime time” to bring down that gap as he starts ahead of the Northern Irishman for race one tomorrow.
“Obviously it’s mega important to claim that little point to claw back on Colin [Turkington] for pole. The plan is to try and outscore him from that point onwards and this is our perfect opportunity.
“We’ve not been in this position yet this year, so this is our prime time to try and do something about that points difference between us.”
The opening race of the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill is scheduled to get underway tomorrow [30 August] at 11:10 BST.