Current champ Sutton sets the pace
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Adrian Flux set the early pace around the hallowed Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit as this year’s outgoing champion looks to sign off his season in style.
It has been a valiant title defence from Sutton, who only dropped out of overall contention at the penultimate event at Silverstone, but runners-up laurels are still very much up for grabs. The Subaru star has still won the most races of any driver this season – five victories so far – and he is keen to keep that honour.
“I can go out and enjoy it – straight away we’re on the pace,” said Sutton. “I’m here to win races whether there’s a championship at stake or not. Tom (Ingram) is going to be very fast this weekend and he’s the one that can take the most race wins away from me, so I’m out to stop that. The car feels good, except we were sat in the garage! We had a slight oil leak so we thought it best to garage the car just to be safe.”
BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan ran second in FP1, ahead of WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Jack Goff, both of whom have put up good championship challenges this season.
Fourth placed Tom Chilton is still in mathematical contention to win a maiden BTCC title and the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher man was happy to have pipped his main rivals.
“I am really pleased with fourth place so far,” he said. “I know it’s only FP1 but I always think it’s quite a good guide. Colin Turkington is down in 15th and we’ve got a gust of wind to get ahead of Tom Ingram too. I love this place, it’s my home circuit and my favourite track in the UK. I’m excited about the weekend and we’ll be pushing throughout.”
The Mercedes of Adam Morgan separated Chilton and Ingram’s Speedworks Toyota Avensis, whilst the Halfords Yuasa Racing duo Matt Neal and Dan Cammish were seventh and eighth respectively.
BTC Norlin Racing and 2018 race winner Chris Smiley was ninth, whilst local boy Mike Bushell continued his good form with a top ten lap time.
All 31 cars will be back on track for Free Practice 2 at at 12:05, before the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Qualifying session of the season commences at 15:20. Qualifying and the proceeding four races from the Renault UK Clio Cup, F4 British Championship, Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup and Ginetta Junior Championship – all with title battles on the line – will be streamed live and exclusively via www.itv.com/btcc.
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Brands Hatch GP
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 1m31.090s
2 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.126s
3 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.192s
4 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.319s
5 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.357s
6 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.363s
7 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.364s
8 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.384s
9 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.451s
10 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +0.452s
11 Dan LLOYD (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.455s
12 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.469s
13 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.527s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.571s
15 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.592s
16 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.756s
17 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.912s
18 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +0.925s
19 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +1.082s
20 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +1.096s
21 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +1.157s
22 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1.160s
23 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +1.360s
24 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +1.415s
25 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +1.437s
26 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.586s
27 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +2.162s
28 Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +2.360s
29 Ethan HAMMERTON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +2.568s
30 Josh CAYGILL (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +4.770s
31 Ollie PIDGLEY (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +7.681s