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Qualifying report

BTCC Brands Hatch: Supreme Sutton bags pole for finale

British Touring Car Championship leader Ash Sutton claimed a stunning pole position for the final round at Brands Hatch, with title rival Tom Ingram third.

Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

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Sutton was supreme throughout the half-hour in his Alliance Racing (nee Motorbase) Ford Focus ST as he bids for a fourth title.

He sat at the top of the times when the red flags flew after nine minutes, due to barrier damage on the straight after Sheene Curve inflicted when George Gamble dropped a wheel of his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla onto the grass and cannoned off in a rearward impact.

At this point Sutton was 0.051 seconds clear of Rory Butcher (Speedworks Toyota), with Ingram third in his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N.

Bizarrely, none of the leading positions changed once the session resumed for the remaining 20 minutes, but that doesn’t mean Sutton didn’t go quicker.

First he chipped 0.030s away from his previous best, and then he lopped the best part of 0.2s away from that to end up 0.253s to the good.

That was despite Sutton, who extends his championship lead over Ingram to 46 points, running the minimum one second of hybrid boost on the Ford, deployed at 135km/h.

“Well that’s one point extra,” said Sutton. “I had a scary old lap there. We had three laps good enough for pole, but I knew I had a couple of tenths on the table.

“On my best lap I had a big moment at Hawthorn – I was all over the grass and still managed to go quicker.

“I knew there was a bit more and I wanted it, despite whether we needed it or not.”

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

While Sutton was delighted with his sixth pole of 2023, so too was Butcher with his first front-row qualifying effort of a tough season.

The smooth-driving Scot was on the maximum 15s of hybrid at a minimum 115km/h, and held out Ingram’s Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N, which was on 3s/135km/h.

Dan Rowbottom made it two Alliance Fords in the top four, the bearded Midlander allowed 13s of hybrid at 125km/h.

Bobby Thompson put in the latest of his impressive showings to grab fifth in his Team Hard Cupra Leon (15s hybrid) and will the share the third row with another Alliance Ford, that of Dan Cammish (11s hybrid).

It was a disappointing session for the West Surrey Racing BMW squadron. Four-time champion Colin Turkington was just 0.061s off third-placed Ingram, but ended up seventh on 7s hybrid at 130km/h.

Turkington ended up one spot ahead of team-mate Jake Hill, although the Kentishman was 0.130s further back on 5s hybrid at 135km/h.

Jack Sears Trophy title contender and Silverstone poleman Mikey Doble put in another strong showing to take ninth in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra ahead of the WSR BMWs of Adam Morgan and Stephen Jelley.

BTCC Brands Hatch Qualifying Results:

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom A. Sutton NAPA Racing UK 116 Ford Focus ST 15 1'29.823   97.520
2 United Kingdom R. Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 6 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 12 +0.253 0.253 97.246
3 United Kingdom T. Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 1 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 14 +0.307 0.054 97.188
4 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK 32 Ford Focus ST 15 +0.326 0.019 97.167
5
B. Thompson Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
19 Cupra León 13 +0.330 0.004 97.163
6 United Kingdom D. Cammish NAPA Racing UK 27 Ford Focus ST 14 +0.365 0.035 97.125
7 United Kingdom C. Turkington Team BMW 4 BMW 330e M Sport 17 +0.368 0.003 97.122
8 United Kingdom J. Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 24 BMW 330e M Sport 15 +0.498 0.130 96.982
9
M. Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
88 Vauxhall Astra 14 +0.510 0.012 96.969
10 United Kingdom A. Morgan Team BMW 33 BMW 330e M Sport 17 +0.525 0.015 96.953
11 United Kingdom S. Jelley Team BMW 12 BMW 330e M Sport 17 +0.620 0.095 96.851
12 United Kingdom R. Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 37 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 16 +0.707 0.087 96.758
13 United Kingdom A. Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing 11 Vauxhall Astra 15 +0.756 0.049 96.706
14
R. Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
14 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 15 +0.794 0.038 96.665
15 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing 40 Vauxhall Astra 14 +0.829 0.035 96.628
16 United Kingdom J. Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing 66 Honda Civic Type R 16 +0.844 0.015 96.612
17 United Kingdom T. Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 3 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 14 +0.894 0.050 96.559
18 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils 123 Cupra León 14 +0.938 0.044 96.512
19
D. Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
17 Cupra León 15 +0.994 0.056 96.452
20 United Kingdom A. Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing 16 Honda Civic Type R 16 +1.008 0.014 96.438
21 United Kingdom S. Osborne NAPA Racing UK 77 Ford Focus ST 15 +1.011 0.003 96.434
22
G. Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
42 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 3 +1.213 0.202 96.220
23
D. De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
18 Cupra León 15 +1.261 0.048 96.170
24
M. Crees Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils
777 Cupra León 11 +1.481 0.220 95.938
25
J. Gornall Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
180 Cupra León 15 +1.623 0.142 95.789
26
J. Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
99 Cupra León 16 +1.692 0.069 95.717
27
N. Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
22 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 16 +2.352 0.660 95.031

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