Photo: PSP Images

Ash Sutton claims surprise pole position at Donington Park for Subaru

Ash Sutton bounced back from a problematic second practice session to claim his third career pole, and his first since joining Subaru Team BMR at Donington Park, setting a new qualifying lap record on the process.

The bulk of the activity took place during the first ten minutes, with West Surrey Racing’s Colin Turkington setting the first representative pole time in the low 1:10s with a time of 1:10.343.

Sutton then jumped ahead with a time of 1:10.188 in the Levorg GT, before Matt Neal claimed provisional pole with a time of 1:10.131.

Turkington then moved ahead and was the first in the 1:09s in qualifying, before Sutton went faster, but immediately had his time deleted due to track limits.

Sutton’s second lap however of 1:09.412 was faster than Jason Plato’s 2014 lap record, and was unbeaten throughout the rest of the session.

The session settled down during the middle segment, until times began to improve briefly in the last ten minutes before a water coolant spillage from Turkington’s BMW saw a number of cars sliding off at the Old Hairpin.

The session was red flagged with just over six minutes remaining. There were few improvements when the session resumed, leaving Sutton to claim pole position, after having finished the second practice session down in 29th.

“You always come here to put it on pole and win races, that’s what everyone’s goal is,” said Sutton. “I have to give credit the guys, it’s nice to reward them with a pole. We’ve got no weight (in the car), so fingers crossed we can get a good result tomorrow.”

Rob Austin put in a last-minute improvement to be Sutton’s closest threat, just over a tenth of a second behind in the Handy Toyota Avensis, with Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff third fastest in his Swindon-engined Honda Civic.

Brands Hatch Race 1 winner Tom Ingram was fourth fastest in the Speedworks Toyota, with Aiden Moffat making a late improvement to go fifth fastest in his Laser Tools-backed Mercedes A-Class.

Jake Hill was sixth in the Team HARD Volkswagen CC, followed by the two Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type-Rs of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, with Team HARD team-mate Michael Epps and Ciceley Racing’s Adam Morgan completing the top ten.

Colin Turkington was still the best-placed of the BMWs despite missing the last part of the session in 12th, while the closest of Sutton’s team-mates was Jason Plato, 17th fastest and six-tenths behind.

Race 1 is scheduled for 11:37 BST on Sunday.