Ashley Sutton intends to convert his first pole position into victory in the opening race of the second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting at Donington Park.
The rookie’s achievement came in a dramatic qualifying session truncated by wet weather and hail, a switch to slicks proving key as the Renault UK Clio Cup champion snatched pole position in only his second BTCC meeting.
Sutton’s time was 0.494s faster than Triple Eight team-mate, Josh Cook, the latter having topped both free practice sessions earlier in the afternoon before the pair completed a front row lockout for MG for the first time since Brands Hatch back in 2014.
“I’m really pleased with myself”, Sutton told The Checkered Flag. “I didn’t show the true pace of the car earlier in the day, like Josh [Cook] did.
“He showed what the car was capable of, but for me it was all about hooking it up for qualifying and going from there.”
Having entered the weekend seventh in the championship, Sutton added: “I’m enjoying the moment as it is and why we’re here.
“The pole is fantastic, the race might be different so I’m going to enjoy it.”
Sutton admitted that Saturday was the first time he had driven the MG6 GT in wet conditions, saying that he would welcome more rain on Sunday.
“Obviously, I’ve never driven the car in the wet before, so the first half of the session was a little bit of a learning curve. Once the track dried, I radioed in to say ‘let’s get to slicks’.
“We made the jump to slicks and from then it was just a case of bringing the temperature in and finding some clean air. What a result.
“To be honest, after our wet running I wouldn’t mind a bit of rain”, Sutton admitted on a sunny Sunday morning in Leicester, believing that MG stand in good stead for the opening race of the day.
“Either way, I’m looking forward to it and I hope we can keep this 1-2 in the first race. We’d have full ballast then and persevere with it in race two.”