Team Pyro’s Sutton set a best time of one minute 30.062 seconds in his BMR Restart-backed car – that was close to half a second faster than the next fastest driver, his team-mate Ash Hand who he is currently chasing for the championship lead.
Sutton said: “That was on new tyres and if I’d strung my best three sectors together then a 29.7 was on – I think that will be do-able without the tow effect in session two and there might even be as much as another half a second again if you can pick up someone’s slipstream around the lap.”
His time, however, was still a second off that achieved by Maximum Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales during pre-season testing at Rockingham. Whorton-Eales, who had led the standings until recently, finished the session back in eighth – some 1.6s adrift of Sutton as a mechanical fault was later discovered on his car.
The big surprise was JamSport’s Kidsley, a terrific third outright and just 0.095s behind Hand in his first run in anger in a Clio Cup car. Paul Rivett, the fourth of the main title contenders, was next up, only 0.81s behind Kidsley as he put in two long runs. His WDE Motorsport team-mate Charlie Ladell followed in fifth but had to sit out most of the session because of a problem with his car’s brakes.
JamSport’s Tom Grundy completed the top six. Seventh was Team Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne whose session ended with a last lap off into a gravel trap at the Tarzan corner while ninth, behind Whorton-Eales, was the returning Peter Felix – a late entry with the 20Ten Racing squad. Cooksport’s George Jackson was tenth.