Croft BTCC: Sutton ends pole drought, leads Plato in Subaru one-two
|By Matt Salisbury||Saturday, June 23rd 2018, 15:26 GMT|
Ashley Sutton secured his first pole position in 12 months by topping qualifying for the Croft British Touring Car Championship round in a BMR Subaru one-two ahead of Jason Plato.
Reigning BTCC champion Sutton jumped to the top of the times almost as soon as the session had got under way with a lap just shy of Tom Ingram's best from free practice, and could well have gone quicker on the next two when he went purple in the opening sector.
A combination of traffic and the spinning BMW of Rob Collard forced Sutton to back off, but he went nearly half a second clear of the chasing pack after coming out on fresh tyres for his second run.
As rivals closed in, Sutton went out for one final run but ran wide through the gravel at Clervaux on the first timed lap and was unable to improve.
Despite that, Sutton's time proved to be unbeatable and he secured his first pole since the corresponding meeting last season.
"If Colin [Turkington] had no ballast it would be a different story," he said.
"We still aren't right but everyone involved with the team and the guys at Swindon have worked hard to get us here.
"We've made it count today without the ballast and we'll see what happens in the opening race.
"We've not done much running with weight in and hopefully we'll be in a position to carry some after race one tomorrow."
Plato made it an all-Subaru front row with by far his best qualifying performance of the season.
Prior to Croft, Plato hadn't qualified inside the top 20 at all in 2018 but he fell just a tenth of a second shy of top spot.
WSR's Andrew Jordan completed a rear-wheel drive lock-out of the top three in his BMW.
Sam Tordoff's impressive qualifying record continued as he led the way among the front-wheel-drive cars, making the most of the lack of ballast on his Ford Focus to go fourth quickest; little over two tenths of a second away from pole.
Behind Tordoff came the first of the more ballast-heavy cars, with Tom Ingram taking fifth spot ahead of championship leader Colin Turkington.
In a good session for the BMWs, WSR driver Collard and the Team Parker-run car of Stephen Jelley completed the top eight - Jelley having recovered from an engine change between practice sessions.
Further down the field, it proved to be a troubled session for the Honda drivers - with Matt Neal in 15th spot despite stopping at Sunny In in the closing stages and team-mate Dan Cammish five spots further back in 20th.
Championship hopeful Jack Goff also has work to do on race day having qualified back in 26th in his Eurotech-run Civic Type-R.
|1||Ash Sutton||Team BMR||Subaru||1m24.222s||-|
|2||Jason Plato||Team BMR||Subaru||1m24.378s||0.156s|
|8||Stephen Jelley||Team Parker Racing||BMW||1m24.891s||0.669s|
|9||Josh Cook||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||1m24.893s||0.671s|
|10||Rob Austin||HMS Racing||Alfa Romeo||1m24.956s||0.734s|
|11||Daniel Lloyd||BTC Norlin||Honda||1m25.026s||0.804s|
|13||Rory Butcher||AmD Tuning||MG||1m25.082s||0.860s|
|14||Senna Proctor||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||1m25.104s||0.882s|
|15||Matt Neal||Team Dynamics||Honda||1m25.142s||0.920s|
|16||Ollie Jackson||AmD Tuning||Audi||1m25.205s||0.983s|
|18||Tom Oliphant||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||1m25.258s||1.036s|
|19||Mike Bushell||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1m25.261s||1.039s|
|20||Dan Cammish||Team Dynamics||Honda||1m25.299s||1.077s|
|21||Josh Price||Team BMR||Subaru||1m25.318s||1.096s|
|22||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||1m25.320s||1.098s|
|23||Chris Smiley||BTC Norlin||Honda||1m25.387s||1.165s|
|24||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes||1m25.440s||1.218s|
|25||Jake Hill||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1m25.495s||1.273s|
|26||Jack Goff||Eurotech Racing||Honda||1m25.496s||1.274s|
|27||Matt Simpson||Eurotech Racing||Honda||1m25.617s||1.395s|
|28||Brett Smith||Eurotech Racing||Honda||1m25.687s||1.465s|
|29||Michael Caine||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1m25.700s||1.478s|
|30||Bobby Thompson||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1m25.974s||1.752s|
|31||Tom Boardman||AmD Tuning||MG||1m26.292s||2.070s|
|32||Sam Smelt||AmD Tuning||Audi||1m26.318s||2.096s|