Sutt-on pole. Reigning champion takes Croft pole in Subaru one-two

by Stuart Richards

Qualifying at Croft in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has seen Ashley Sutton take pole position for the first time in 2018 for Adrian Flux Subaru Racing.

Sutton had set his fastest time halfway through the session and managed to get a clear lap after multiple attempts constantly being hindered by either traffic, yellow flags or going through the gravel at Clervaux.

Backing up his pace in practice two, the boost increase and rear-wheel drive advantage has certainly made the Subaru Levorg GT’s more competitive after a poor start to the season.

Jason Plato takes second place on the grid and is much more happier than he has been so far this season. Admitting that he hasn’t been “arsed” trundling around at the back of the field, this has certainly perked the two-time champion up and the push towards one hundred wins is back on for the veteran.

Andrew Jordan was the best of the BMW entries completing a top three of rear-wheel drive cars. A rapid start is his best chance to go forwards towards victory but a ballast-laden car against the weight-free Levorgs’ could make this task very difficult.

Best of the front-wheel drive runners was Sam Tordoff in fourth who continued his strong 2018 qualifying performances. It’ll seem wrong to say the obvious about him needing more of the luck on Sunday but never has cliché come true so often. If Croft isn’t the circuit for the Sunday turnaround, Tordoff will probably consider bringing an exorcist in over the summer break.

Speedworks Motorsport driver Tom Ingram comes in fifth and is set to score well in order to bolster his title tilt further.

Sixth, seventh and eighth come a trio of BMW drivers headed by King of Croft Colin Turkington. Rob Collard was seventh ahead of a mightily impressive Stephen Jelley of Team Parker Racing. The privateer BMW being aided by a more powerful engine to finally highlight the skills of the former two-time race winner.

Jelley has scored no points so far this season and tomorrow will be the best opportunity for him to finally break his 2018 duck.

Jelley starred for Team Parker Racing Credit:

Ninth came Josh Cook who is looking for a return to the podium, Cook is ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Rob Austin. Rob had been quick in both practice sessions but tenth isn’t a complete disaster as he’s in the mix towards more strong points finishes.

Outside of the top ten, Dan Lloyd is the fastest Honda in eleventh, Adam Morgan who lies second in the championship is twenty-second and Oulton Park pole-sitter Matt Simpson is twenty-seventh.

The trio of Eurotech drivers sit together in twenty-sixth to twenty-eighth in a baffling loss of performance. Something that Jeff Smith and the drivers Jack Goff and Brett Smith along with Simpson will sit down and try to work out before working out their plans for Sunday.

Incidents in the session included Rob Collard spinning at the Complex in the early minutes, Matt Neal stopping to move a side-skirt which had begun to foul the area of his left-rear wheel, Jake Hill running wide then rejoining and Aiden Moffat lightly clipping the barrier after flying off the circuit at Sunny In.

With an odd qualifying result considering 2018 form. Sunday at Croft will certainly be an interesting watch for fans and pundits alike.

1stAshley SuttonSubaru1m24.222
2ndJason PlatoSubaru+0.156
3rdAndrew JordanBMW+0.173
4thSam TordoffFord+0.203
5thTom IngramToyota+0.442
6thColin TurkingtonBMW+0.450
7thRob CollardBMW+0.476
8thStephen JelleyBMW+0.669
9thJosh CookVauxhall+0.671
10thRob AustinAlfa Romeo+0.734
11thDan LloydHonda+0.804
12thJames ColeFord+0.848
13thRory ButcherMG+0.860
14thSenna ProctorVauxhall+0.882
15thMatt NealHonda+0.920
16thOllie JacksonAudi+0.983
17thTom ChiltonFord+0.987
18thTom OliphantMercedes-Benz+1.036
19thMike BushellVolkswagen+1.039
20thDan CammishHonda+1.077
21stJosh PriceSubaru+1.096
22ndAdam MorganMercedes-Benz+1.098
23rdChris SmileyHonda+1.165
24thAiden MoffatMercedes-Benz+1.218
25thJake HillVolkswagen+1.273
26thJack GoffHonda+1.274
27thMatt SimpsonHonda+1.395
28thBrett SmithHonda+1.465
29thMichael CaineVolkswagen+1.478
30thBobby ThompsonVolkswagen+1.752
31stTom BoardmanMG+2.070
32ndSam SmeltAudi+2.096

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