Sutton Shines In Damp Brands Clio Cup Qualifying

Ashley Sutton overcame Team Pyro team-mate Ash Hand in a last gasp shootout to take pole position for the opening round of the 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch, with Hand emerging on top in second best times for Round Two pole.

Improving track conditions as the session progressed meant that it was in the final ten minutes that the key times came in, with Sutton and Hand establishing themselves as the main contenders for pole.

On his Clio Cup debut, Formula Ford graduate Sutton pinched the top spot for the opening race with a best time of 56.847s, just 0.091s ahead of Hand. The positions will be switched for race two, thanks to Hand’s second best time of 57.071s.

SV Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales secured the third fastest time ahead of the session’s surprise package Ben Seyfried, the SV racer being comprehensively the fastest Masters Cup runner in fourth overall.

Three-time Clio champion Paul Rivett used his experience in changing conditions to secure fifth, with Jordan Stilp ending up sixth after topping the timesheets early on. Dan Holland, Brett Smith, Jack Mitchell and George Jackson rounded out a top ten separated by 0.912s.

For race two, Rivett will line up third behind Hand and Sutton, with Stilp and Smith next up ahead of SV trio Whorton-Eales, Seyfried and Mitchell and JamSport pair Holland and Tom Grundy.

Charlie Ladell, a driver in the top six of the times at mid-distance, eventually slipped to a lowly fifteenth for both races to compound a nightmare session for Team Cooksport, with Rory Collingbourne and Paul Knapp left rounding out the grid after off-track moments ended their sessions early.

Full qualifying results can be found here.