Ash Sutton grabs pole at BTCC opener

Ash Sutton has taken pole position in the opening British Touring Car Championship round at Brands Hatch.

Sutton took pole ahead of Jason Plato who is competing with new team Power Maxed Racing in wet conditions that resulted in three stoppages.

The second row was an all West Surrey Racing lockout with the BMW’s Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan third and fourth. The third BMW of Tom Oliphant was close behind in fifth.

Matt Neal and Dan Cammish line up sixth and seventh for Halfords Yuasa Racing and Tom Ingram will start eighth in his Toyota Corolla.

Sam Tordoff and Josh Cook rounded out the top ten in what was a very close session. The first 17 cars qualified within a second of each other at the 1.2 mile circuit.

Speaking of his first pole position of the season, Sutton said: “We weren’t expecting that. I’m 100 percent sure that if it wasn’t dry we wouldn’t be in the same position.”

“It fell into our hands and fingers crossed it’s wet tomorrow.”

“There’s a few things to work on and I’m going to have my old team-mate pushing me along aren’t I?”

Nic Hamilton who is returning to the BTCC for the first time since 2015 will start 20th and debutant Mark Blundell qualified 28th.

Stephen Jelley had posted the eighth fastest lap in qualifying but he was disqualified after after his BMW 125i M Sport failed ride height tests after the session.