Dan Rowbottom will start Sunday’s Race One of the 2023 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season on pole edging out team-mate Ash Sutton into second in a NAPA Racing UK one-two during Saturday’s Top 10 showdown at Donington Park.
As ever, the normal 30-minute qualifying session took place with the top ten then having their times erased and would fight for pole position over a last 10 minutes. It was an even better time for NAPA Racing UK during the opening gambit as Sutton led Rowbottom and Dan Cammish as a 1-2-3.
The likes of Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Josh Cook and reigning champion Tom Ingram also made it through, but it was actually Sutton’s misfortune as regards to track limits that benefited his teammate.
Sutton was languishing down the order after his initial lap time was expunged and with the clock running down, he needed to get a lap in and despite posting purple (absolute best) sectors going into the final chicane, there was a sluggish run through to the line and allowed Rowbottom to celebrate a third career pole position.
Hill and Turkington anchor Team BMW‘s hopes in third and fourth, while Cammish completes the top five aiming to join the leading duo. Ingram was left visibly frustrated as he finished only sixth as his Hyundai was off the pace throughout. While Josh Cook and Adam Morgan finished seventh and eighth.
The outside story of the top names came from the rookies as Andrew Watson, an experienced GT racer and former member of the McLaren Academy has made the switch this season for a first season in a new discipline and taken to it well.
The CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall placed ninth in the top 10 shoot-out on debut with Ronan Pearson too for Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 also finishing 11th.
Ricky Collard had a fuel leak similar to Dan Cammish last season which meant he couldn’t get out for the top ten shootout but is still inside of the top places for tomorrow’s season opener and unlike Cammish, it didn’t occur on track luckily.