Austin on BTCC pole after Sutton's Saturday stunner scrubbed
Handy Motorsport man Rob Austin will start from pole position for tomorrow's (Saturday) opening BTCC race, after original pole sitter Ash Sutton was disqualified from the results for a technical issue after qualifying.
Subaru man Sutton had stunned the paddock with his qualifying time, having endured a difficult start to the season, and had been only 10th fastest in opening practice and 29th in the second session. But it was found after qualifying that his car had a turbo overboost infringement, and he will now start at the back of the grid for tomorrow's first race.
Austin will now start from pole with Jack Goff alongside him on the front row. Tom Ingram will start third in his Toyota Avensis, despite suffering an off track excursion at Coppice moments before the session was red flagged with six minutes remaining after Colin Turkington’s BMW dropped water at the Old Hairpin. Several cars were sent skidding into the gravel, although all were able to recover back onto the track and return to the pits.
When the session resumed, Austin was able to usurp Goff, while Aiden Moffat climbed to fourth in his Mercedes ahead of VW man Jake Hill (who will also start at the back after a separate infringement). Series legend Matt Neal will therefore start fifth in his Honda Civic, just ahead of team mate and fellow champion Gordon Shedden.
Michael Epps’ Volkswagen CC and Adam Morgan’s Mercedes A Class will be seventh and eighth on the grid, with Jeff Smith and Colin Turkington completing the top-10. Champions Andrew Jordan and Jason Plato line-up 14th and 15th respectively.
Impressively, the top-25 runners in qualifying were covered by less than a second, indicating an ultra-competitive raceday tomorrow.
The opening BTCC race of the Donington Park Easter weekend takes place at 11.37 tomorrow morning, with tickets available on the gate for £35. Children aged 13 and under go free all day.
A total of three BTCC races will take place with a further eight support races for Ginetta Junior, Ginetta GT4 SuperCup, Formula 4 and Renault Clios. As well as stunning on track action, there's plenty of family entertainment around the venue. For more information click here.
Click here for full BTCC qualifying results.
Image credit Harry Marshall.