Donington Park: Series qualifying report

JORDAN BECOMES YOUNGEST DRIVER TO ACHIEVE BTCC POLE POSITION Andrew Jordan has made British Touring Car Championship history by becoming the youngest ever driver to qualify on pole position for a race of the HiQ-backed series, at the Donington...

JORDAN BECOMES YOUNGEST DRIVER TO ACHIEVE BTCC POLE POSITION

Andrew Jordan has made British Touring Car Championship history by becoming the youngest ever driver to qualify on pole position for a race of the HiQ-backed series, at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire today - but only after team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi lost all his times and was sent to the back of tomorrow's starting grid.

Staffordshire driver Jordan, aged just 19 years and 358 days, set a best lap of 1m13.241s in his VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra to achieve pole for the first of tomorrow's three BTCC races. Similarly, there was a best ever qualifying performance from Harry Vaulkhard, who set the second fastest time in new team Tempus Sport's Chevrolet Lacetti to give the front of the grid a very different feel. The 23-year-old from Newcastle-upon-Tyne was just 0.015s behind Jordan.

Third and fourth fastest were two former champions, James Thompson in Team Dynamics' Honda Civic and Jason Plato in his Racing Silverline Chevrolet Lacetti. Local driver Stephen Jelley, from Leicester, who had set the pace in both earlier practice sessions, was fifth in his Team RAC BMW ahead of Robert Collard's Airwaves BMW.

Of note, RAC's Colin Turkington, currently second in the drivers' standings, was seventh fastest, just ahead of the man he is chasing, VXR's Matt Neal in eighth.

Lichfield youngster Jordan, whose best race result to date is third, said: "I've had a tough opening few rounds so needed something like this to give me a boost. It was down to me to string all the three sectors together in one lap and I managed it. The car feels fantastic. I hear it could rain tomorrow - if it's damp but we all started on slick tyres I'd like that. I love racing in tricky conditions and my rallycross experience would come in handy."

Vaulkhard was equally delighted and tomorrow will be hunting his first BTCC podium result. He added: "We've been making steps and getting closer to the front but we always felt this is where we could make an impact. The Chevrolet is really suited to this track so it was important to make the most of it. Hopefully I convert this into some good results tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Giovanardi had looked to have secured pole but had his times disallowed when his Vectra failed to restart following a mandatory technical check at the end of the qualifying session. He will therefore line up at the back of the 22-strong grid for the first of tomorrow's three races.

But the reigning Champion remained calm despite the disappointment, saying: "OK, it's happened. I cannot change it so there is no point to be angry. It makes it difficult tomorrow. I will have to take some risks and taking risks means you can get involved in some situations so I need to be careful also... it's not an easy situation when the grid is so competitive."

Tomorrow's three BTCC races will be televised live on the ITV4 channel across the UK during a mammoth six-hour-plus broadcast between 11.30am-6.00pm.

-credit: btcc.net

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Series BTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Colin Turkington , Matt Neal , Robert Collard , Andrew Jordan , Harry Vaulkhard , Stephen Jelley