Defending three-time British Touring Car champion Ash Sutton says he is 'over the moon' to be starting Sunday's opening Knockhill race from the front-row after qualifying as the top FWD runner in second position.

The NAPA Racing UK driver delivered his best qualifying result of 2022 so far in second position and was the only FWD runner to challenge what proved to be a dominant display from the BMW/RWD contingent.

Sutton produced a time just over 0.2s shy of Jake Hill's pole position lap, while Toyota's Rory Butcher was the next best placed FWD runner a further 0.2s from the Ford Focus in seventh position.

"I think it speaks for itself when you’ve got that many RWD cars around you. I’m pleased with the result," Sutton told

"It shows the pace that we’ve been working on and the stuff that we’ve been able to roll across from the test. I’m really pleased for everyone at NAPA Racing UK.

"We were sat P4 [in qualifying] and we tried one more thing and it just gave us that last bit we needed to get to the sharp end. There was 0.150s left in there, whether that would’ve been enough to challenge Jake [Hill], I might’ve been pushing my luck a little bit.

"Ultimately, we’re sat on the front-row and it’s very dominant for a RWD car, so I’m over the moon with that."

Mindful of being surrounded by the entire five-car BMW contingent at the start of the race, Sutton remains buoyant of applying pressure on pole-sitter Hill during the opening stages of the race as he seeks to secure his first BTCC race victory in NAPA Racing Ford colours.

"It’s going to be interesting! We’ve just got to settle into the race and look after the tyres. If it gets a bit heated, it gets a bit heated. I’m in a good window with the car. We’ve just got to make sure we maximise that," Sutton continued.

"I don’t plan to be giving up a place at the start. I want to be in a position to apply some pressure on Jake at the beginning of the race.

"I’ve been round here in a RWD car, so I know the front tyres can take a bit longer than you like. I’m going to try and use that to my advantage.

"I just want to score some solid points. I’d absolutely love a win but we’ve got to be realistic here. We’re in for the long run."