NAPA Racing UK driver Ash Sutton unsurprisingly impressed during the season-opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Donington Park National Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 23rd April, to secure third on the grid for tomorrow’s first race of 2022.
On his maiden qualifying outing in the Motorbase Performance prepared No.1 Ford Focus, the reigning BTCC Champion was a mere 0.023 seconds shy of a dream pole position and just five 1000ths of a second away from the front row with a time of 1m08.441 seconds (104.09mph).
Team-mate Dan Cammish who, like Sutton, had been quick during free practice earlier in the day, thankfully emerged unscathed from a worrying car fire around 10 minutes into qualifying which devastated his start to the season.
Just embarking on his first flat-out lap, as the No.9 Ford headed through Schwantz Curve flames began to appear from beneath the bonnet and Cammish swiftly pulled off the track into the gravel on the outside of McLeans. The damage was extensive and the Motorbase mechanics have a long night ahead to try and repair the car for raceday. Cammish will line-up 28th and last on the grid.
Sam Osborne was very impressive in the No.77 Apec Racing with Beavis Morgan entered car, lapping second fastest of the Jack Sears Trophy class contenders and 13th overall with a time of 1m09.108 seconds (103.09mph) – just 0.7 seconds shy of the outright pole.
In the sister Apec Racing car, Ollie Jackson posted a best time of 1m09.397 seconds (102.66mph) and will therefore line-up 17th on the grid for round one. Jackson was the last of the drivers to lap within a second of pole position, underlining the BTCC is as competitive as ever in the new hybrid era.
Race one of the 2022 BTCC season will get underway at 11.50 tomorrow morning, with round two following at 14.40 and round three ending the day’s track action at 17.25. Watch all of the action live on ITV4 or online at www.itv.com/btcc