12th August 2023

Three-time champion tops BTCC qualifying in Scotland

NAPA Racing UK's Ash Sutton claimed pole position for Round 19 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill earlier today (12 August), as he pipped One Motorsport with Starline Racing's Josh Cook by just 0.006s during qualifying.

Running under the 'Top Ten Showdown' format, Sutton ensured that NAPA Racing UK took its seventh successive pole position of the season so far – albeit by the slenderest of margins – as the tight and twisty Scottish circuit rapidly dried throughout the session.

The initial 30-minute segment commenced in wet conditions, but almost came down to its own five minute showdown as slick-shod Goodyear tyre runners finally became the pace-setters in the closing moments.

The main duo to miss out on the top ten were the NAPA Racing UK pairing of Dan Cammish and Dan Rowbottom – in stark contrast to their front row start at Croft last time out.

Cammish had a wild ride across the grass and damaged the front of his Ford Focus in the process – eventually dropping to 23rd – whilst Rowbottom could only manage 13th after he was caught up in a separate incident.

Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport's Jake Hill claimed P1 during the initial session, and went on to bid for pole position in the 'Top Ten Showdown'. He eventually had to settle for third, with the top three incredibly blanketed by less than three hundredths of a second.

Home hero Rory Butcher (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK) was an impressive fourth, ahead of reigning champion Tom Ingram (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8).

Adam Morgan (Team BMW) and Aiden Moffat (One Motorsport with Starline Racing) both enjoyed one of their best qualifying sessions of the season so far, ending up sixth and seventh respectively.

Team BMW's Colin Turkington had his own minor off-track excursion on his final run, which prevented the Northern Irishman from improving his time. The four-time champion will start tomorrow's opener from eighth on the grid.

Tom Chilton (BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8) and Daniel Lloyd (Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils) rounded out the top ten.

Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the 2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland tomorrow, with the entire race day being broadcast live on ITV4 and ITVX from 1115.

Ash Sutton said: "That was a struggle – it was a push. Hybrid around here makes such a big difference, especially through the hairpin and onto the back straight.

"We've had a bit of a rough day to be fair. We had a damper issue in FP2, which kind of limited our running. The pressure was on when the slicks came out, but we know this car is phenomenal on the soft tyre and I just had to dig deep and I did exactly that."

Josh Cook said: "Almost a really good one! Obviously we had no idea what to expect as the first time we drove the car in the dry was in that qualifying session, but it was good. We're pleased with the progress that we have made, but it doesn't count for anything unless we can convert it tomorrow. 

"We are around the guys fighting for the Championship – I'm sure they have got their minds on the points they need to score, but we have our minds on the big win, so we'll see what we can do. I'm just really pleased for the team. It's been a long year, so to get a decent qualifying like that really sets us up for the weekend."

Jake Hill said: "At least we we got third, that's decent. I'm just gutted I couldn't quite get that pole as I think we are definitely fast enough. I'm happy though! At least we are up there and we get to go and fight again for another win.

"We had a fantastic time last year with a win and two second places, and it would be nice to replicate that. Ultimately, we are in a strong position now and it's just about going out and trying to have a good day. You can only manage your own race."

2023 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Knockhill

1. Ashley Sutton, NAPA Racing UK 51.267s
2. Josh Cook, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +0.006s
3. Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport +0.029s
4. Rory Butcher, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +0.108s
5. Tom Ingram, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +0.230s
6. Adam Morgan, Team BMW +0.265s
7. Aiden Moffat, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +0.332s
8. Colin Turkington, Team BMW +0.405s
9. Tom Chilton, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +0.519s
10. Daniel Lloyd, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +0.630s
11. Ricky Collard, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +0.404s
12. Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +0.487s
13. Daniel Rowbottom, NAPA Racing UK +0.514s
14. Ronan Pearson, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +0.536s
15. Andrew Watson, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +0.539s
16. Sam Osborne, NAPA Racing UK +0.620s
17. George Gamble, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK +0.868s
18. Stephen Jelley, Team BMW +0.927s
19. Jade Edwards, One Motorsport with Starline Racing +0.960s
20. Rob Huff, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +1.015s
21. Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +1.057s
22. Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing +1.150s
23. Dan Cammish, NAPA Racing UK +1.223s
24. Jack Butel, Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown +1.262s
25. Michael Crees, Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils +1.283s
26. Nick Halstead, BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 +2.005s
27. Daryl DeLeon, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD +5.199s © 2024
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