Croft: Series qualifying report

"LUCKY" CHILTON RECOVERS FROM EARLY SPILL TO GRAB POLE POSITION AT CROFT Tom Chilton achieved a record qualifying time at Croft to set pole position for the first of tomorrow's three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the North...

"LUCKY" CHILTON RECOVERS FROM EARLY SPILL TO GRAB POLE POSITION AT CROFT

Tom Chilton achieved a record qualifying time at Croft to set pole position for the first of tomorrow's three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the North Yorkshire circuit.

A relieved Chilton (pictured) set pole in a time of 1m24.629s in his Team Aon Ford Focus and later described the session as "the luckiest of my life" after he'd earlier run off the track into a barrier - necessitating urgent repairs in the pit lane to the front of his car.

It is his third pole position from the five qualifying sessions held so far in 2010.

Chilton, aged 25 from Poole, said: "I only just got back out of the gravel trap after I'd been off. Then on my second run, when I set the time, I hit a kerb really hard and thought I'd punctured a tyre but it all held together. Other than that it was the perfect lap but I admit I was very lucky."

Just a fraction behind, Gordon Shedden qualified second fastest in his Honda Racing Team Honda Civic ahead of WSR BMW driver Robert Collard in third.

Fourth on his home track was impressive 19-year-old Cumbrian Alex MacDowall in his Silverline Chevrolet Cruze. Championship leaders Matt Neal and Jason Plato - respective team-mates to Shedden and MacDowall - were fifth and sixth, their cars laden with success ballast.

Worcestershire's Neal, BTCC Champion in 2005 and 2006 and who goes into tomorrow's three races with an eight-point advantage over Plato, commented: "I initially set a 25.5s and thought about parking it - I didn't think any more was possible with the success ballast in the car. But I gave it another go and it's important I did or I'd have ended up in ninth. Initially, Jason was three or four places behind me but when I looked at the times at the end he's right there with me! That's going to be a very busy first corner tomorrow…"

Oxford-based Plato, chasing a second BTCC crown to add to that which he won in 2001, added: "This is the sort of circuit where success ballast does give you a bit of a kick in the teeth. I've got it again for race one tomorrow and don't expect to be able to make any progress. I think the best I can hope for is sixth and then for the weight to come off for race two. Then we'll have a car that can move forward."

MacDowall aside, of the other local drivers 18-year-old newcomer Daniel Lloyd from Huddersfield was an impressive 11th fastest in his first-ever BTCC qualifying session in his Triple Eight-run Vauxhall Vectra and Morpeth's Arthur Forster was 20th in his Forster Motorsport BMW.

Tomorrow's three BTCC races will be shown live during a mammoth six and a half hour broadcast from 12.00pm-6.35pm on the ITV4 channel. The itv.com website will also live-stream the action.

-source: btcc.net

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Series BTCC
Drivers Tom Chilton , Arthur Forster , Jason Plato , Robert Collard , Gordon Shedden