Sutton ‘can smell the podium’
Ashley Sutton is bullish about his prospects of a successful first race day in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch today (3 April), following a starring performance in qualifying.
After turning heads with an excellent second-fastest lap time at the Season Launch test at Donington Park last week, Sutton reprised his impressive form in practice around Brands’ 1.2-mile Indy Circuit, featuring up towards the sharp end throughout despite grappling with set-up issues in his MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT.
The 22-year-old – who clinched the Renault UK Clio Cup crown last year during his maiden campaign – then shone again in qualifying, annexing fifth position on the record race one starting grid ahead of more experienced team-mate Josh Cook. Whilst looking forward to the challenge ahead, he acknowledges that he still has plenty to learn about the cut-and-thrust nature of touring car competition.
“Coming into this weekend, I would have been happy with the top ten, so I’m made up with top five,” Sutton commented. “We obviously showed some pace at Season Launch, and then again in FP1. We had a few set-up issues in FP2, but I knew we had the potential and the team gave me a great car in qualifying so then the rest of it was down to me.
“I put my best sectors together on the same lap, although it was a shame we didn’t get another shot after that due to the weather, because I felt there was a bit more time left in it.
“The race will be interesting. Obviously we can smell the podium from where we are, but I’m sure I’ll be taught a few of the tricks of touring car racing! I’ve always been a better racer than qualifier, though, so I’m looking forward to it.”