Reigning British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) Drivers’ Champion, Ash Sutton has kicked off his title defence by topping the times in the opening free practice of the 2021 season at Thruxton this morning.
As expected due to the weather forecast for Saturday’s practice and qualifying, the conditions in Hampshire gave a challenging start to both the new and most experienced drivers on the grid but it was Sutton who adapted best to head to the front in his Infiniti Q50.
Initially, it was Josh Cook (BTC Racing) and Jake Hill (MB Motorsport) who were setting the pace with both known for having good qualifying pace and as a result, it was no surprise to see the duo exchanging P1 multiple times.
Cook had to settle though for second in the end with Hill third and three-time champion Gordon Shedden who topped the times at the Official Launch marking his return with Halfords Racing with Cataclean with a fourth in the Honda Civic Type-R.
It was three champions in the top five with Jason Plato who has had a year out showing good pace in the Vauxhall Astra for Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing.
Many believe, it is a pivotal season for Aiden Moffat as he aims to challenge his teammate, Ash Sutton in the Infiniti Q50 and he had an encouraging run to sixth ahead of Rory Butcher (Toyota Gazoo Racing UK) and Tom Oliphant (Team BMW) with the latter finishing the best of the trio of BMW 330i M Sport.
By comparison to this, Colin Turkington finished down in 14th, while behind Oliphant and rounding out the top ten were the returning Dan Cammish who is in a guest outing for BTC Racing in 9th and Dan Rowbottom in 10th for Halfords Racing with Cataclean.
A second free practice session is set for 12:15pm (BST) before the main qualifying commences at 14:45 as the grid will be set for the opening round on Sunday at Thruxton.
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 Results– Thruxton
1 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1:20.041
2 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.049s
3 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.610s
4 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.775s
5 Jason PLATO (GBR) Aridan Flux with Power Maxed Racing +1.040s
6 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.101s
7 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +1.184
8 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +1.218s
9 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) BTC Racing +1.244s
10 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +1.261s
11 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1.622s
12 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +1.654s
13 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Aridan Flux with Power Maxed Racing +1.696s
14 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +1.850s
15 Andy NEATE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +2.273s
16 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +2.523s
17 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +2.574s
18 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +2.814s
19 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +3.055ss
20 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +3.217s
21 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +3.228s
22 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +3.232s
23 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +3.504s
24 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +3.754s
25 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +4.006s
26 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +4.613s
27 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +5.633s
28 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +5.956s
29 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport NO TIME