Podium Finish at Donington Park

POLE, POINTS AND PODIUMS AT DONINGTON PARK

It was another outstanding weekend at Donington Park for MG Racing RCIB Insurance with the dynamic duo of Ash Sutton and Josh Cook showing great pace throughout rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
 
 
Both MG6’s showed tremendous pace during the two practice sessions on Saturday morning and used that to their best advantage later on in the day during the afternoon’s qualifying session.

With the weather conditions changing constantly, qualifying looked set to be a difficult one on track for both drivers and the team we opted for a wet tyre choice.  However a dry line started to appear in the midway stages, so a swift decision was made to change onto slicks for the remainder of the session.  After a red flag the session recommenced with just 5 minutes left on the clock and saw the pole position change hands constantly, which included the MG pair flying up the order and setting blistering laps.  Both the tyres and the timings seemed to work in our favour with the duo locking out the front row of the grid with a truly magnificent one-two with Ash pipping Josh to pole position with a time of 1:11.729 with just 0.494s separating the MG duo.

Race one would see Josh taking the second step of the podium after finishing in the position he started in, with Motorbase Performance’s Mat Jackson taking a well earned win.  Unfortunately for Ash he was unable to convert his pole into a win after a disappointing start dropping him back down to 4th.  After a fierce battle with his competitors Ash started regaining positions and made it up to 3rd by the midway stage of the race.  As the red flag fell to signal an early end to the race Ash had to settle for a 5th following a dramatic end with James Cole’s Subaru bursting into flames.

Starting in the positions they finished in from the previous race, Josh would start from 2nd carrying 66kg of ballast with Ash in 5th carrying 39kg of weight for the second race of the day.  Both drivers were slowly shuffled down the order despite their great battles on track.  Josh finished in a great point scoring position in 7th with Ash, who had opted to use the Dunlop SportMaxx soft compound tyre, just holding onto points in 13th.  Rob Collard took the win for West Surrey Racing.

The third and final race of the day saw a reverse grid draw place Josh back on the front row in 2nd as Ash took his previous race finishing position in 13th.  Josh would this time use his soft tyre selection.  Ash battled through the pack making up an impressive eight places to finish 5th.  It was a different story for Josh after showing great pace in the opening laps before the tyres started to wear as a result of carrying 27kg of ballast before dropping down the order and finishing 9th albeit still in a good point scoring position.

Ian Harrison, Managing Director of Triple Eight - MG Racing RCIB Insurance: "A bit of a mixed bag of results at Donington BUT, a lot of direction discovered!  An excellent team job on Saturday from the cockpit and the garage saw a front row lock out which was just reward for taking a risk on an early slick fitment. Hard charging by both guys saw a good podium from Cooky in race 1 and a fight through the pack by Ash in race 3 using a different set up which looks promising.  Roll on Oulton Park."
 
Josh Cook said:  “Firstly, it was amazing to get a Front Row lock out for the MG Racing RCIB Insurance Team in Qualifying.  Not only that but converting this into a P2 result was very much deserved by the whole team for all their efforts.  With a two further top 10 finishes, we managed to not only come away with not only a good haul of points, but also a massive amount of data which we can take forward.  I’m really looking forward to Thruxton in a few weeks where we can hopefully continue with these all important consistent results.”
 
The Donington Park results have now moved Ash down one spot in the overall championship standings to 8th, just 23 points of the series leader Matt Neal.  As Josh moved up the order from 14th to 9th a further 9 points adrift.

MG Racing RCIB Insurance now sit third in the Manufacturer standings and fourth in the overall Team Championship.

The BTCC moves to Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire for rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the championship in just over two weeks time on the weekend of the 7/8 May.