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Qualifying report
BTCC Donington Grand Prix Circuit

BTCC Donington: Sutton beats Ingram in pole battle

British Touring Car Championship leader Ash Sutton scored his fifth pole position of the season by topping qualifying at Donington Park.

Pole sitter Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST

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But this time Sutton had to fend off a stern challenge from reigning champion Tom Ingram, who ran him extremely close but could not prevent the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST squad from extending its 2023 pole wipeout to eight from eight.

Sutton substantially lowered Ingram’s provisional pole time as the session headed into the final 10 minutes with a seemingly unbeatable effort.

But with just a couple of minutes on the clock, Ingram set sail on a lap on which he set two purple sectors, but in the final sector lost 0.150 seconds compared to his earlier time.

Not far behind him on the track, Sutton was on a flier too – he went green in sector one, lowered Ingram’s best in the next portion of the lap, and completed the tour to grab pole by 0.182s.

That was despite Sutton being allowed just one second per lap of hybrid boost, compared to the three of Ingram.

“When Tom put his lap in, I thought I’ve got to dig deep here, but I didn’t realise the potential we had in the car,” said Sutton.

“No one’s had a clear run today, with the weather and the red flags in free practice. I’m so in tune with the car at the moment – the guys give me exactly what I need, and I’m in a good place.”

Ingram blamed himself for missing out on pole: “The car feels alive this weekend. It’s probably me getting excited but I feel I’ve got a car that can challenge for pole.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We lost out with dry running [in free practice, when he lost a wheel at the Old Hairpin] when we were sat on the sidelines, so there are 101 excuses.”

Ricky Collard, running the regulation 15s of hybrid, was in the mix all session and did a superb job to take third place in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla.

As ever, the intra-West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport battle was entertaining. Colin Turkington moved to the fore late on to edge out Jake Hill, who had a visit to the Old Hairpin gravel trap early in the session.

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To add insult to injury for Hill, he was also demoted by Irish veteran Aron Taylor-Smith, who popped up late on in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra to go fifth, despite damage to the right-front corner from a clout of a tyre stack at the esses.

Hill will also take a three-place grid penalty for his part in his incident with team-mate Stephen Jelley in the final race last time out at Knockhill, dropping him to ninth on the grid.

That moves Josh Cook up to sixth, after a strong performance considering the One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R squad missed last month’s test on the GP circuit.

Adam Morgan will start his WSR BMW from seventh, while rookie Ronan Pearson continued his excellent progress from Knockhill and will join the Lancastrian on the fourth row in his Excelr8 Hyundai.

Motorbase Ford driver Dan Rowbottom took the final spot in the top 10 to start alongside Hill.

There was one red flag a third of the way through the session, to recover the Excelr8 Hyundai of Nick Halstead from the gravel on the exit of the esses.

BTCC Donington Park - Qualifying Results

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom A. Sutton Ashley Sutton NAPA Racing UK 116 Ford Focus ST 14 1'33.154   76.480
2 United Kingdom T. Ingram Tom Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 1 Hyundai i30N 13 +0.182 0.182 76.331
3 United Kingdom R. Collard Ricky Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 37 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 +0.396 0.214 76.156
4 United Kingdom C. Turkington Colin Turkington Team BMW 4 BMW 330e M Sport 17 +0.437 0.041 76.123
5 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith Aron Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing 40 Vauxhall Astra 14 +0.488 0.051 76.081
6 United Kingdom J. Hill Jake Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 24 BMW 330e M Sport 16 +0.569 0.081 76.015
7 United Kingdom J. Cook Josh Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing 66 Honda Civic Type R 15 +0.688 0.119 75.919
8 United Kingdom A. Morgan Adam Morgan Team BMW 33 BMW 330e M Sport 16 +0.701 0.013 75.909
9
R. Pearson Ronan Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
14 Hyundai i30N 16 +0.750 0.049 75.869
10 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom Daniel Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK 32 Ford Focus ST 15 +0.790 0.040 75.837
11 United Kingdom T. Chilton Tom Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 3 Hyundai i30N 14 +0.835 0.045 75.800
12 United Kingdom A. Watson Andrew Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing 11 Vauxhall Astra 14 +0.846 0.011 75.791
13 United Kingdom A. Moffat Aiden Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing 16 Honda Civic Type R 15 +0.898 0.052 75.750
14 United Kingdom R. Butcher Rory Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 6 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 16 +0.913 0.015 75.738
15 United Kingdom S. Osborne Sam Osborne NAPA Racing UK 77 Ford Focus ST 14 +0.945 0.032 75.712
16
M. Doble Mikey Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
88 Vauxhall Astra 11 +0.983 0.038 75.681
17 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Daniel Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils 123 Cupra León 13 +1.009 0.026 75.660
18
G. Gamble George Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
42 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 +1.067 0.058 75.614
19
M. Crees Michael Crees BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
777 Cupra León 13 +1.145 0.078 75.551
20 United Kingdom S. Jelley Stephen Jelley Team BMW 12 BMW 330e M Sport 16 +1.297 0.152 75.430
21
D. Patterson Dexter Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
17 Cupra León 14 +1.329 0.032 75.404
22
J. Butel Jack Butel Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
96 Cupra León 12 +1.616 0.287 75.176
23
J. Edwards Jade Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
99 Cupra León 15 +1.755 0.139 75.066
24
D. De Daryl De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
18 Cupra León 13 +2.004 0.249 74.869
25
N. Halstead Nick Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
22 Hyundai i30N 4      

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