Defending British Touring Car champion Ash Sutton was left slightly frustrated after qualifying fifth for Sunday's first Thruxton race, but is positive over the progress his NAPA Racing squad are making with the Ford Focus.

Sutton produced a time just over 0.2s seconds shy of Josh Cook's pole position lap in Saturday's qualifying and felt he could've matched that time if he strung all of his best sectors together.

"There was definitely more there. It was a bit frustrating on my side. We know there was another 0.2s there if I put the sectors together," Sutton told Crash.net.

"If no one else had anything in the bag, that should’ve been pole. I locked up on the final chicane on one lap and then we went green and purple again and Chilton was facing the wrong way at Church, so both laps got hurt, which was a shame.

"A bit frustrating but I’m overall positive that we’re going in the right direction with everything."

Having struggled with the balance of his Ford Focus since joining the Motorbase Performance squad for 2022, Sutton feels they've 'got a better steer of the car' this weekend.

"I think we’ve got a bit of a better steer on the car this weekend. The true test is tomorrow [Sunday]. I think when we go into race mode it’s managing that tyre degradation to the other FWD cars," Sutton continued.

"We can’t really include the RWD cars with that. Today [Saturday] has been a good day but it’s all about race day.

"With the feedback and feeling we’re getting today, it’s a positive going into Sunday. But until we get running and we’re under that pressure of putting the car through constant hard graft, we won’t really know."