Colin Turkington has secured pole position for round 13 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft after a stunning last minute qualifying lap broke the lap record to secure his eBay Motors team, their maiden pole position in their brand new BMW 1 series.
The BMW 1 series was finished just before the opening meeting of the year and despite winning race 3 at Donington, thanks to the reverse grid to date the new car has been a just inside the top 10 car at best. However his West Surrey Racing team have been working hard to improve his car and last time out at Oulton Park, Turkington scored a double podium based upon outright speed for the first time thanks to testing, which had been carried out in the 5 week gap between Thruxton and Oulton Park.
The 2009 champion benefitted from not carrying any ballast in qualifying and will hope to get an early advantage thanks to his rear wheel drive get away as he hopes to build on his win tally of 6 at Croft the most of any driver since the circuit first hosted the BTCC in 1997.
Lining up alongside Turkington will be Jason Plato in his MG KX Momentum MG 6 GT, after the former double champion saw his time which had looked on course for pole position snatched away in the dying seconds to miss out by just 0.148 of a second. Importantly for Plato though he will start ahead of all 3 leading Honda Civics who will all start 3, 4, and 5.
Leading the Honda charge is current points leader Matt Neal who will start alongside his Honda Yuasa Racing team mate of Gordon Shedden. Shedden however was lucky to escape damage after locking up and hitting the barriers at the complex and was able to continue to finish on the second row of the grid.
Andrew Jordan had led the early part of the session in his Independent Pirtek Racing Honda Civic but lost the chance of improving from 5th late on after running through the gravel at turn 1 during a frantic last, 2 lap dash to the chequered flag following a late red flag.
Proving just how much the eBay Motors BMW’s have improved was Rob Collard as he qualified inside the top 10 for the first time this season. Collard had topped the earlier Free Practice 2 in a rain/red flag affected session and will hope to make it onto the podium for the first time this season, while the third eBay Motors BMW of Nick Foster also enjoyed a better run to finish in 12th.
Frank Wrathall was quickest of the Toyota Avensis’ to finish in 7th for Dynojet as he hopes to at last enjoy a trouble free weekend and get the results his pace disserves. Alongside the Toyota on row 4 will be Sam Tordoff in the second MG as the youngster hopes to go one better than last time out at Oulton Park two weeks ago as he aim to secure his maiden BTCC victory in front of his home crowd.
Tom Onslow-Cole will start 9th in his Team Hard, PPCGB.com/Kraftwerk Racing VW Passat with Adam Morgan rewarding his mechanics work after a heavy crash in Free Practice 2, to round out the top 10 in his Cicely Racing Avensis.
Once again no Motorbase Performance Ford Focus’ managed to get inside the top with Mat Jackson just missing out on the top 10 in 11th with the other Airwaves Racing Focus of Aron Smith back in 16th.
Going one better than Smith in 15th was the new third Ford Focus belonging to Michael Caine. Caine is a long term Motorbase driver having driven for the team for two meetings back in 2011 and the current British GT champion for Motorbase will compete under the Addison Lee Motorbase banner in a stunning all black Focus sponsored by Autoglym.
In 22nd position was the leading car competing in the Jack Sears trophy for the older S2000 spec cars of Lea Wood in his Wheel Heaven/Houseman Racing Vauxhall Vectra. Just one place behind Wood was 19 year old debutant Jake Hill who deputises this weekend for Liam Griffin in the Addison Lee Motorbase Ford Focus. Hill was hugely impressive topping the category in Free Practice 1, finishing less than half a second behind Wood in qualifying in which he held category pole for a period of time.
Once again this weekend we will be without Andy Neate in his brand new IP Race Tech Engineering, Team Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze after the team had failed in their attempt to rectify the problems that prevented them running two weeks ago at Oulton Park and now hopes to be ready after the summer break to compete at Snetterton.
Although we will see the return of the S2000 spec Chevrolet Cruze driven in the Jack Sears Trophy by Joe Girling, though he crashed heavily late on in the session causing that red flag giving his M247 Racing with Techspeed with a lot of work to do prior to the first race of the day tomorrow.