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Donington BTCC: Sutton takes shock pole for Subaru

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Donington BTCC: Sutton takes shock pole for Subaru
Apr 15, 2017, 4:25 PM

Team BMR Subaru's Ash Sutton took a surprise pole position during the second round of the BTCC at Donington Park.

Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
Polesitter Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
Polesitter Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
Ashley Sutton, Team BMR Subaru Levorg
Jack Goff, Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R
Jack Goff, Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R
Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis
Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis
Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis

The 23-year-old, who had a troubled time at the opening meeting at Brands Hatch three weeks ago with a poor-handling car and failed to score a single point, traded honours at the top of the timesheets throughout the session.

He banked the best time after 10 minutes of the 30-minute period but it was scrubbed because of a track limits infringement.

Sutton went out again and set a lap that was 0.3 seconds ahead of the competition almost immediately. That 1m09.412s - a new qualifying lap record - was good enough for the top slot.

"This is a huge credit to the lads at Team BMR who have worked day and night since Brands Hatch to turn the car around," said Sutton.

"We have been chipping away at lots of little things, and the boys are shattered so this one is for them.

"I got pole position here at Donington Park last year [in the factory MG], but couldn't convert it into a win - that has to be the main aim tomorrow."

A late lap from Rob Austin in the Handy Motorsport Toyota means he will line up second on the grid.

"I was putting myself under pressure during that session and I was a bit scrappy early on," said Austin. "I just had to calm it down, and then the time came."

Jack Goff, who had set the fastest time in the free practice sessions, was third in his Eurotech Racing Honda.

He will share the second row with Speedworks Toyota driver Tom Ingram, who was carrying 66kg of success ballast.

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden set the eighth best time in the Team Dynamics Honda, despite carrying 75kg of success ballast, and he was just one place behind teammate Matt Neal.

All of the factory BMW drivers had complained of a lack of balance through the day.

BMW's leading qualifier was Colin Turkington in 12th, even though he had caused a red flag in the session with a water leak with six minutes to go rhat prevented him returning to the track.

Aron Taylor-Smith led the way for the Triple Eight Racing-run works MG team in 13th, while Tom Chilton was the leading factory-backed Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall in 14th.

Sutton's BMR Subaru teammate Jason Plato ended up 17th, 0.630s off the pace.

Qualifying results:

POSDRIVERCARTIMEGAP
1 Ash Sutton Subaru 1m09.412s -
2 Rob Austin Toyota 1m09.514s 0.102s
3 Jack Goff Honda 1m09.555s 0.143s
4 Tom Ingram Toyota 1m09.710s 0.298s
5 Aiden Moffat Mercedes 1m09.728s 0.316s
6 Jake Hill Volkswagen 1m09.737s 0.325s
7 Matt Neal Honda 1m09.753s 0.341s
8 Gordon Shedden Honda 1m09.803s 0.391s
9 Michael Epps Volkswagen 1m09.819s 0.407s
10 Adam Morgan Mercedes 1m09.907s 0.495s
11 Jeff Smith Honda 1m09.933s 0.521s
12 Colin Turkington BMW 1m09.939s 0.527s
13 Aron Taylor-Smith MG 1m09.957s 0.545s
14 Tom Chilton Vauxhall 1m09.995s 0.583s
15 Rob Collard BMW 1m09.998s 0.586s
16 Andrew Jordan BMW 1m10.032s 0.620s
17 Jason Plato Subaru 1m10.042s 0.630s
18 Daniel Lloyd MG 1m10.149s 0.737s
19 Josh Cook Ford 1m10.194s 0.782s
20 Mat Jackson Ford 1m10.205s 0.793s
21 Senna Proctor Vauxhall 1m10.211s 0.799s
22 Chris Smiley Chevrolet 1m10.250s 0.838s
23 Matt Simpson Honda 1m10.290s 0.878s
24 Dave Newsham Chevrolet 1m10.315s 0.903s
25 James Cole Subaru 1m10.395s 0.983s
26 Will Burns Volkswagen 1m10.427s 1.015s
27 Ollie Jackson Audi 1m10.492s 1.080s
28 Martin Depper Ford 1m10.668s 1.256s
29 Luke Davenport Ford 1m10.675s 1.263s
30 Josh Price Subaru 1m10.691s 1.279s
31 Ant Whorton-Eales Audi 1m10.697s 1.285s
32 Stephen Jelley Ford 1m10.708s 1.296s

Matt James / Autosport

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About this article

Series BTCC
Event Donington Park
Location Donington Park
Drivers Ashley Sutton
Teams Team BMR