Silverstone: Series qualifying report

JACKSON QUALIFIES ON SILVERSTONE POLE AS TURKINGTON GAINS UPPER HAND OVER TITLE RIVAL GIOVANARDI Mat Jackson has qualified on pole position for the first of tomorrow's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the ...

JACKSON QUALIFIES ON SILVERSTONE POLE AS TURKINGTON GAINS UPPER HAND OVER TITLE RIVAL GIOVANARDI

Mat Jackson has qualified on pole position for the first of tomorrow's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire.

Warwickshire driver Jackson achieved the pole with a best lap time of 1m00.259s in his Racing Silverline Chevrolet Lacetti - a BTCC qualifying record around the short Silverstone National circuit.

Second fastest was the Airwaves BMW of Robert Collard. Third, with by far the best qualifying performance of his young career so far, was Bedfordshire's James Nash in his RML Chevrolet who will surely be looking for strong results in front of his home crowd tomorrow.

The in-form Jackson, winner of the BTCC's most recent race at Knockhill two weeks ago, said: "It's my first pole for some time but, like Jason, I'm really starting to feel at one with the car now and this circuit really plays to its strengths. I'm also sure it will have great pace over a race distance so hopefully I can have three very strong races again tomorrow."

Collard, from Hampshire, was delighted with second on the grid after a poor run of results of late that have seen him slump to sixth in the standings. He added: "I had a nightmare time at Knockhill two weeks ago and I was not a good person to be around for a few days after. This is just what I needed and with the BMW's great record off the line then maybe there's a chance of getting into the lead."

Oxford's Jason Plato, who some have tipped to win all three races tomorrow, was fourth fastest in his Racing Silverline Chevrolet - a distant third in the Drivers' championship, he knows that Silverstone could be his final chance to realistically haul himself back into title contention.

Championship leader Colin Turkington qualified fifth fastest in his Team RAC BMW, a considerable effort considering his car is laden with the maximum success ballast of 45kgs. Closest championship rival Fabrizio Giovanardi was eighth in his VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra - with Turkington's two team-mates Stephen Jelley and Anthony Reid around him in sixth and ninth.

Northern Irishman Turkington said: "I'm happy with that. Fifth and three places ahead of Fabrizio is perfect. Hopefully, my team-mates can take a few points out of him tomorrow just as his team-mates did to me at Knockhill."

Meanwhile, three-times Formula 1 Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert will start his first BTCC race from 17th on the grid, having run into suspension problems with his Team Dynamics Honda Civic. The 45-year-old from Romford Essex said: "It's a shame as we were up in the top ten in morning practice and getting quicker all the time. But my big strength has always been consistent fast lap times in race situations so hopefully tomorrow I can make up lots of places but this is a tough championship."

All three of tomorrow's BTCC races will be shown live during a mammoth six hours-plus broadcast between 11.00am and 5.30pm on the ITV4 television channel.

-credit: btcc.net

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Series BTCC
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Anthony Reid , Jason Plato , Colin Turkington , Robert Collard , James Nash , Mat Jackson , Stephen Jelley