Ashley Sutton has heaped praise on BMR Racing for their frantic efforts to ensure he could set a time in yesterday’s qualifying session at Donington Park.
Running the new Swindon power plant in his Subaru Levorg for the first time this weekend, the reigning champion showed front-running pace in the first free practice session, setting the fourth fastest time.
Going on to clock early laps in the second practice session, Sutton’s rear-wheel-drive machine suffered engine troubles, forcing him to remain in the garage as the team set about changing engines between sessions.
With all hands on deck, the manufacturer-backed squad rallied to ensure Sutton hit the track and set a lap time, which was ultimately good enough for P22.
Speaking to BTCC Crazy following qualifying, Sutton said: “I jumped into the car for the start of qualifying and the front of it was still hanging off with a lot of mechanics around it.
“I went out there, did two warm up laps and then one competitive lap – it wasn’t worth the risk to do any more than that given how quickly the boys had turned things around.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the team for their hard work in-between sessions. To take the car apart, remove the engine and fit a new one in the time they did was brilliant – hats off to them.”
Looking ahead to the day’s three 16-lap races under the flightpath of East Midlands airport, the 24-year-old is philosophical of what he can achieve.
“When you think about it, I’m in a better position than this time last year,” he said. “A year ago I was starting from the back of the grid and had no points to my name. This time round I’ve got a solid haul of points from Brands Hatch and we are a little higher up the grid.
“Obviously I would like to be up near the front but things could have been worse than they are. We will see what race day brings and I’ll be getting stuck in and looking to make as much progress going forward as possible.”
Race one at Donington Park is scheduled to get underway at 11:35 with live coverage on ITV4.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography