Croft BTCC: Sutton ends pole drought, leads Plato in Subaru one-two

Ashley Sutton secured his first pole position in 12 months by topping qualifying for the Croft British Touring Car Championship round in a BMR Subaru one-two ahead of Jason Plato

Croft BTCC: Sutton ends pole drought, leads Plato in Subaru one-two

Reigning BTCC champion Sutton jumped to the top of the times almost as soon as the session had got under way with a lap just shy of Tom Ingram's best from free practice, and could well have gone quicker on the next two when he went purple in the opening sector.

A combination of traffic and the spinning BMW of Rob Collard forced Sutton to back off, but he went nearly half a second clear of the chasing pack after coming out on fresh tyres for his second run.

As rivals closed in, Sutton went out for one final run but ran wide through the gravel at Clervaux on the first timed lap and was unable to improve.

Despite that, Sutton's time proved to be unbeatable and he secured his first pole since the corresponding meeting last season.

"If Colin [Turkington] had no ballast it would be a different story," he said.

"We still aren't right but everyone involved with the team and the guys at Swindon have worked hard to get us here.

"We've made it count today without the ballast and we'll see what happens in the opening race.

"We've not done much running with weight in and hopefully we'll be in a position to carry some after race one tomorrow."

Plato made it an all-Subaru front row with by far his best qualifying performance of the season.

Prior to Croft, Plato hadn't qualified inside the top 20 at all in 2018 but he fell just a tenth of a second shy of top spot.

WSR's Andrew Jordan completed a rear-wheel drive lock-out of the top three in his BMW.

Sam Tordoff's impressive qualifying record continued as he led the way among the front-wheel-drive cars, making the most of the lack of ballast on his Ford Focus to go fourth quickest; little over two tenths of a second away from pole.

Behind Tordoff came the first of the more ballast-heavy cars, with Tom Ingram taking fifth spot ahead of championship leader Colin Turkington.

In a good session for the BMWs, WSR driver Collard and the Team Parker-run car of Stephen Jelley completed the top eight - Jelley having recovered from an engine change between practice sessions.

Further down the field, it proved to be a troubled session for the Honda drivers - with Matt Neal in 15th spot despite stopping at Sunny In in the closing stages and team-mate Dan Cammish five spots further back in 20th.

Championship hopeful Jack Goff also has work to do on race day having qualified back in 26th in his Eurotech-run Civic Type-R.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 1m24.222s -
2 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 1m24.378s 0.156s
3 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 1m24.395s 0.173s
4 Sam Tordoff Motorbase Ford 1m24.425s 0.203s
5 Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 1m24.644s 0.422s
6 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 1m24.672s 0.450s
7 Rob Collard WSR BMW 1m24.698s 0.476s
8 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 1m24.891s 0.669s
9 Josh Cook Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 1m24.893s 0.671s
10 Rob Austin HMS Racing Alfa Romeo 1m24.956s 0.734s
11 Daniel Lloyd BTC Norlin Honda 1m25.026s 0.804s
12 James Cole Motorbase Ford 1m25.070s 0.848s
13 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning MG 1m25.082s 0.860s
14 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 1m25.104s 0.882s
15 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 1m25.142s 0.920s
16 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 1m25.205s 0.983s
17 Tom Chilton Motorbase Ford 1m25.209s 0.987s
18 Tom Oliphant Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 1m25.258s 1.036s
19 Mike Bushell Team Hard Volkswagen 1m25.261s 1.039s
20 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 1m25.299s 1.077s
21 Josh Price Team BMR Subaru 1m25.318s 1.096s
22 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 1m25.320s 1.098s
23 Chris Smiley BTC Norlin Honda 1m25.387s 1.165s
24 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 1m25.440s 1.218s
25 Jake Hill Team Hard Volkswagen 1m25.495s 1.273s
26 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 1m25.496s 1.274s
27 Matt Simpson Eurotech Racing Honda 1m25.617s 1.395s
28 Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 1m25.687s 1.465s
29 Michael Caine Team Hard Volkswagen 1m25.700s 1.478s
30 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 1m25.974s 1.752s
31 Tom Boardman AmD Tuning MG 1m26.292s 2.070s
32 Sam Smelt AmD Tuning Audi 1m26.318s 2.096s


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BTCC Croft: Speedworks driver Tom Ingram quickest in practice
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Croft BTCC: Ash Sutton scores first win of 2018 in Subaru one-two

Croft BTCC: Ash Sutton scores first win of 2018 in Subaru one-two
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