Ash Sutton secures pole position in typically tight Knockhill qualifying

Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton stormed to pole position in qualifying for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill after improving throughout the session.

The 2017 champion, who gave Infiniti their maiden series victory at the season-opening Donington Park round, carried his strong practice form to continue building on pace-setting times to take Infiniti’s first ever BTCC pole.

The half-hour session was red flagged with seven minutes remaining after a high-speed off for Matt Neal on the exit of the chicane, losing control after dipping a wheel onto the gravel and pitching the Honda Civic Type R into the barriers.

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Once the session resumed, it was MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill who bounced back from another misfire early in the session to set a time just 0.053s off Sutton’s pole time and secure his first ever front row start after qualifying.

Defending champion Colin Turkington will head the second row of the grid after setting his best time just seconds before the red flag, while Dan Cammish held fourth despite opting not to head back out after the red flag.

Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Tom Ingram initially went second fastest in the session but would have a similar off to Neal at the chicane on the following lap, albeit managing to keep his Toyota Corolla out of the barriers.

Knockhill lap record holder Mike Bushell was next in his Vauxhall Astra, continuing his strong form on his return to the championship, while home hero Aiden Moffat enjoyed his best qualifying result of the season so far in eighth.

Ninth was Honda’s Matt Neal by virtue of the time he set before the red flag he caused, while the second WSR-run BMW 3 Series of Tom Oliphant completed the top ten.

BTC Racing’s Josh Cook placed 11th in his BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R, while Stephen Jelley’s older BMW 125i M Sport was 12th.

Cook’s team-mate Tom Chilton was next ahead of Oulton Park race three winner Adam Morgan, while Senna Proctor rounded out the top 15.

In a typically close qualifying session at the Scottish circuit, the top 24 runners were separated by just nine tenths.

The opening British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend is scheduled to get underway at 11:10 BST tomorrow [30 August].

Q1 results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 116 I Ashley SUTTON Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 27 50.535 0.000
2 24 I Jake HILL MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type-R 19 50.588 0.053
3 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 30 50.618 0.083
4 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R 18 50.716 0.181
5 80 M Tom INGRAM Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 22 50.735 0.200
6 6 I Rory BUTCHER Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 22 50.805 0.270
7 21 I Mike BUSHELL Power Maxed Car Care Racing Vauxhall Astra 25 50.842 0.307
8 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 29 50.921 0.386
9 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R 19 50.928 0.393
10 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 27 50.934 0.399
11 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 24 50.934 0.399
12 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 25 50.962 0.427
13 3 I Tom CHILTON BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 21 50.985 0.450
14 32 I Adam MORGAN Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class 26 50.991 0.456
15 18 I Senna PROCTOR Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N 25 51.000 0.465
16 777 I Michael CREES The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 23 51.020 0.485
17 41 I Carl BOARDLEY Team HARD. BMW 125i M Sport 26 51.087 0.552
18 4 I Sam OSBORNE MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type-R 23 51.199 0.664
19 22 I Chris SMILEY Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N 26 51.220 0.685
20 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 25 51.266 0.731
21 48 I Ollie JACKSON Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 26 51.316 0.781
22 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 26 51.328 0.793
23 180 I James GORNALL GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 25 51.451 0.916
24 44 I Andy NEATE Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 23 51.452 0.917
25 32 I Jack BUTEL Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class 27 51.795 1.260
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