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Ash Sutton: ‘We wanted more from today’

Ash Sutton was disappointed to qualify in 11th for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Snetterton on Sunday, with the NAPA Racing UK driver citing a setup issue which had not been anticipated.

Having been outside the top ten in both of the day’s earlier practice sessions, Sutton went into qualifying aiming to challenge for a mid top-ten grid position.

However, the reigning champion ended up in just 11th, just under eight tenths of a second from pole, after struggling with a setup issue on his car and going wide onto the dusty grass on his final flying lap near the end of the session.

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“It’s not where we want to be – we didn’t expect to be where we are off the back of the test that we had,” Sutton told TouringCars.Net.

“We’ve got an issue that’s similar across all four cars. I don’t think other people are suffering it as much. We just need to solve it because, ultimately, it’s costing us a lot of lap time.

“It’s just one of those things – we made the best of a bad situation. Obviously, Dan is a little bit further up. I think I had two or three tenths that I didn’t put together so I wouldn’t have been far behind him, so we could potentially have been seventh or eighth, but that was about it, really.”

Sutton said that whilst track temperatures in qualifying were higher than during the July test, that wasn’t the cause of his struggles for pace.

“It is definitely hotter, but I wouldn’t put it down to track temperatures. Whether we just overlooked something ourselves, I don’t know.

“Maybe we changed something in the setup, because obviously we’ve been to Knockhill in the middle of this, and whether there’s something we used there and it’s not giving us the effect we want here, I don’t know.

“We’ve got to look at it overnight and see what tomorrow brings.

“The three BMWs in 1-2-3 kind of sums up tomorrow anyway. For us, we’ve just got to fight to try and get towards the top five and have a couple of solid places and then have a solid run in the last one as well.

“To start with we’re surrounded by cars that have got full [hybrid] deployment and we haven’t, so we’re just going to have to be clever with it in the race to make our way forward and not lose places towards the end of the race.”

Sutton admitted that he had been hoping to be at least the ‘second-best of the rest’ behind the pace-setting BMWs and Tom Ingram’s Hyundai.

“I’m just disappointed. We wanted more from today and we definitely wanted to be in the top five.

“I think realistically we knew we didn’t have the pace of Ingram, so straight away you’re looking at three BMWs then Ingram

“I would have liked to have been fifth or sixth and we’re probably a couple of tenths away from that, so we’ve still got a bit to find.”

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