Ash Sutton takes pole in BTCC opener at Thruxton

Reigning champion Ash Sutton took the first pole position of the 2021 British Touring Car Championship season on a drying track at Thruxton.

Qualifying started off with a wet track and dried over the course of the 30 minute session, with the likes of Sutton, Josh Cook and Rory Butcher all exchanging fastest times throughout.

Sutton kicked off his title defence in style. (Image Credit: BTCC Media)

BMW’s Colin Turkington set the first competitive time of the session, and of the season, before Ford’s Jake Hill went faster. Tom Ingram, in his first qualifying session with Excelr8, was fastest five minutes in.

The track was starting to dry at a quick pace, which meant the times were starting to tumble. Cook went fastest and then Sutton regained the top time soon after. Dan Cammish, who returned to the grid with BTC Racing following Michael Crees’ shock departure this week, went third with ten minutes remaining.

With just eight minutes remaining the action began, as Hill went fastest by just under a tenth of a second. Tom Oliphant in the BMW then set a 1:19:7 before Butcher set a 1:19:4.

Josh Cook lines up on the front row for tomorrow’s first race. (Image Credit: BTCC Media)

Not to be upstaged, Hill’s next lap was a 1:19:0, showing how fast the track was drying out. Butcher then snatched top spot straight back as the first driver to break the 1:18’s.

With just under two minutes to go Jade Edwards spun and collided with the tyre wall. She was on slicks and must have hit a damp spot as she hit the wall but soon got going again, but brought out the yellow flag.

Hill was looking to be on a fast lap to try and retake pole, but was held up by Jason Plato into the final chicane. The Vauxhall driver, who was not on a hot lap, had ample opportunity to move out of Hill’s way, but decided to hold him up into the final corner before peeling into the pitlane.

Ingram went fastest as time ran out with a 1:18:7 before Sutton smashed the fastest time, setting a 1:18:3, and taking pole position in the process.

Cook was second, with Turkington’s quiet session finishing third. Ingram, Butcher Oliphant and Hill followed, with Gordon Shedden, Ollie Jackson, and Chris Smiley rounding off the top ten.

Pos Driver Team Car Time
1 Ash Sutton Laser Tools Infiniti Q50 1:18:305
2 Josh Cook BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R +0.053
3 Colin Turkington Team WSR BMW 330i M Sport +0.362
4 Tom Ingram Excelr8 Hyundai i30N +0.413
5 Rory Butcher Toyota Gazoo Toyota Corolla +0.530
6 Tom Oliphant Team WSR BMW 330i M Sport +0.586
7 Jake Hill MB Motorsport Ford Focus +0.604
8 Gordon Shedden Halfords Racing Honda Civic Type R +0.810
9 Ollie Jackson MB Motorsport Ford Focus +1.641
10 Chris Smiley Excelr8 Hyundai i30N +1.740
11 Jason Plato Power Maxed Vauxhall Astra +1.973
12 Dan Cammish BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R +2.088
13 Carl Boardley Laser Tools Infiniti Q50 +2.408
14 Adam Morgan Ciceley BMW 330i M Sport +2.458
15 Jack Goff Team HARD Cupra Leon +2.630
16 Dan Rowbottom Halfords Racing Honda Civic Type R +2.677
17 Jade Edwards BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R +2.969
18 Stephen Jelley Team WSR BMW 330i M Sport +3.171
19 Aron Taylor-Smith Team HARD Cupra Leon +3.172
20 Tom Chilton Ciceley BMW 330i M Sport +3.310
21 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Infiniti Q50 +3.547
22 Dan Lloyd Power Maxed Vauxhall Astra +4.065
23 Sam Osborne Motorbase Ford Focus +4.350
24 Andy Neate Motorbase Ford Focus +4.574
25 Rick Parfitt Excelr8 Hyundai i30N +5.460
26 Glyn Geddie Team HARD Cupra Leon +5.547
27 Sam Smelt Toyota Gazoo Toyota Corolla +6.152
28 Jack Butel Excelr8 Hyundai i30N +6.826
29 Nicolas Hamilton Team HARD Cupra Leon +6.882


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