Ashley Sutton said MG should be “proud” of their start to the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, after qualifying fifth on the grid behind team-mate Josh Cook at Thruxton.
The Triple Eight squad again displayed comfortable top-five performance in the championship’s third qualifying session at the Hampshire circuit, Cook making it onto the second row ahead of his rookie team-mate.
Last year’s Renault UK Clio Cup champion Sutton suffered from a right-front puncture in free practice, as well as fuel issues prior to qualifying, but admitted afterwards that the MG6 GT was back to its best when it mattered.
“We had a few moments out on track but nothing major”, Sutton told The Checkered Flag about his fifth place lap afterwards.
“With FP1 and FP2, we only did 10 laps combined. That wasn’t ideal. We had a few issues with the car regarding fuel, but we managed to sort it all out for qualifying and it was perfect.
“It shows that there’s pace in the car, plus we’re looking good for the races as well. We’ve got good cars. They’ve done us proud so far as a team.”
Kerb-hopping proved the cause of Sutton’s practice puncture, the current Jack Sears Trophy leader admitting that he is learning more about the Dunlop rubber every time he ventures out on track.
“I had a puncture in first practice, but that was self-inflicted”, Sutton admitted. “I just hit the kerbs, we had the blowout and then, once we got past that problem and knew what I was doing wrong, the tyres were mint.
“We’re pleased with our race runs so far too. There’s still a learning curve for me with these tyres, so I’ll take it race by race.”
Sutton admitted that Cook and himself could benefit from a two-pronged attack in Sunday’s opening race, one that sees Tom Ingram start from pole position.
“We’re not quite line astern, but we’re just aiming to go forward together and not battle so much”, Sutton concluded. “Unless I’m physically much quicker than [Cook] and vice versa, We both want to push forward, so we’ll see what happens.”