MG puts Touring Car title chasers in shade

Rookie tops grid with 101mph lap as title chasers struggle.

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The MG6 of Ashley Sutton will start on pole position for the first of Sunday’s three British Touring Car Championship races at Silverstone.

The rookie driver put the championship contenders in the shade at the penultimate meeting of the season, topping the qualifying session having also been fastest in the second free practice session earlier in the day.

Sutton set his fastest time at 101.26mph on only his fourth lap, with his closest challenge initially coming from Triple Eight Racing team-mate Josh Cook.

However in a typically tight qualifying session, with the top 22 cars covered by less than a second, it was the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram who eventually came closest to unseating Sutton, the Toyota setting a lap in the middle of the session just 0.003sec shy of the MG.

Even a shootout following a late stoppage to recover the beached Volkswagen of Mark Howard failed to change the top order. The second MG of Cook took third spot ahead of the Motorbase Ford Focus of Andrew Jordan, while the leading championship contenders were all mired back in the field.

The best of the title chasers proved to be the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R of second-placed Matt Neal, who set seventh fastest time.

Sam Tordoff, who heads Neal in the table by five points, could only put his Team JCT600 BMW118i into the 26th grid spot on a circuit known not to favour rear-wheel-drive entries.

Of the other title contenders, Neal’s team-mate Gordon Shedden, currently third in the points, will start from 10th, the fourth-placed Motorbase Ford Focus of Matt Jackson will line up in 20th and fifth-placed Rob Collard’s BMW will need to progress from a lowly 24th spot.

Team Silverline Subaru BMR driver Colin Turkington completes the points top six, but his 15th qualifying spot will count for little as he will start his Levorg GT from the back of the grid after picking up three driving standards penalties earlier in the season.

The first of three 22-lap races id due off the grid at 11.57am on Sunday. The Car Expert will carry a full report on the day’s action.

Honda BTCC
Matt Neal’s Honda is the best of the title chasers, starting seventh.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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