Ashley Sutton claimed his second pole position of his debut season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’ circuit. The MG Racing RCIB Insurance driver set the pace from the beginning with the young charger putting in his best time on the fourth lap of the session with teammate Josh Cook initially being his closest challenger. The top twenty-two cars were separated by less than one second in a tense qualifying session. A number of the title contenders were struggling to put in quicker times.
Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram put in his fastest time mid-way through the session with just 0.003 seconds between him and Sutton’s pole time. There was a late stoppage during the session after Mark Howards VW got stranded in a gravel trap. The stoppage made it a five-minute showdown to try and grab pole position. Track conditions were not at the best at the restart, making it no improvements at the top of the order.
Motorbase’s Andrew Jordan finished in fourth ahead of Wix Racing’s Adam Morgan. The latter had been in the top five of every session during the day. Jordan’s stablemate Mat Jackson was struggling throughout the session with his brakes binding, he was only able to manage to get twenty-first on the grid.
Handy Motosport’s Rob Austin put in another impressive effort to qualify in sixth place. Matt Neal finished the session in seventh on the grid in his ballast filled Halfords backed Honda with Power Maxed Racing’s Hunter Abbott next up in eighth. Team BKR’s Aron Smith finished in ninth with the second of the Halfords backed Hondas in the hands of Gordon Shedden finishing in tenth.
Eleventh on the grid will be RCIB Insurance Racing’s Jake Hill with Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat in twelfth. Thirteenth on the grid will be Warren Scott with Eurotech’s Martin Depper alongside in fourteenth. Colin Turkington finished the session in fifteenth with teammate Jason Plato in sixteenth. West Surrey Racing’s Sam Tordoff finished in seventeenth whilst teammate Rob Collard will start in twenty-fifth. The two teammates had a coming together during the qualifying session, resulting in Tordoff being given a verbal warning for the incident.
Eighteenth on the timing screens was Team IHG Rewards Club/West Surrey Racing’s Jack Goff with Jeff Smith in nineteenth in his Eurotech Racing Honda. Twentieth on the timing screen was Power Maxed Racing’s Kelvin Fletcher with Mat Jackson in twenty-first. Goodestone Racing’s Dan Welch finished in twenty-second with James Cole in twenty-third. Twenty-fourth was Ollie Jackson with Rob Collard in twenty-fifth. Stewart Lines finished in twenty-sixth with Tony Gilham in twenty-seventh. Mark Howard will start in twenty-eighth with Alex Martin in twenty-ninth. The final two qualifiers were Matt Simpson in thirtieth and Michael Epps in thirty-first.
Both Matt Simpson and Colin Turkington will start the opening encounter of the weekend from the back of the grid after reaching their third penalty strikes.
©Fay Tilley 18th September 2016.