Three-time champion Sutton, beginning his second season with the Motorbase Efficiency Ford Focus squad, led the way in which within the common 30-minute qualifying session from Rowbottom to the tune of 0.135 seconds.
However within the prime 10 shootout, Sutton fell foul of latest observe limits laws as a consequence of be applied this summer time by governing physique Motorsport UK, however which BTCC organiser TOCA elected to introduce from the beginning of its season.
Sutton had gone 0.1s faster than his Q1 time, however that lap was disallowed and appeared to depart him dealing with a ninth place begin.
However the Motorbase squad fitted a recent pair of slick Goodyears to the entrance of Sutton’s Ford – he had time for only one flying lap and went purple within the lengthy second sector – however he misplaced time via the chicane and completed up 0.041s adrift of Rowbottom.
“It’s good,” mentioned Rowbottom, who’s contesting his first race weekend since becoming a member of Motorbase. “That’s the results of a winter of laborious work.
“We’ve sort of set the bar now, haven’t we? The staff have given us a superb automotive, so so long as we don’t journey over one another we’ll be OK.”
Sutton admitted: “I simply performed it protected via the final chicane to get a time on the board, and I performed it too protected.
“In Q1 I performed it protected and did a smart lap that was adequate for pole [and was quicker than Rowbottom’s Q2 effort by 0.028s], however then in Q2 I pushed a bit extra and located the brand new track-limit rule…
“I’m kicking myself, but it surely’s a mega begin to the championship – the automotive is on rails.”
Colin Turkington, WSR BMW
Photograph by: WSR
Jake Hill was third quickest in the very best of the West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport equipment, simply 0.100s off Rowbottom’s pole, because of a ultimate lap that dislodged team-mate Colin Turkington, with whom he’ll share the second row.
Dan Cammish made it three Motorbase Fords within the prime 5 and can line up alongside reigning champion Tom Ingram – the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N was one other to enhance on the ultimate lap, however didn’t transfer up any positions.
Josh Cook rebounded from a tricky free apply to qualify his One Motorsport Honda Civic Kind R seventh, forward of Adam Morgan’s WSR BMW and Andrew Watson, who did a superb job to make the highest 10 shootout on his BTCC debut on the wheel of a Energy Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.
The opposite driver to make it to the highest 10, Ricky Collard, didn’t flip a lap in Q2 because of a gasoline leak on his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla.
Collard’s team-mate Rory Butcher was the highest-profile contender to not make it to Q2, and he’ll begin thirteenth behind spectacular debutant Ronan Pearson (Excelr8 Hyundai) and Dan Lloyd (Staff Onerous Cupra).