Donington BTCC: Turkington wins tight battle for pole
Four-time British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington claimed pole position for the 2020 season opener at Donington Park in an ultra-tight qualifying session.
Turkington dominated the earlier free practice sessions in his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport, but found things a lot hotter in qualifying, and was embroiled in a three-way battle for pole as times tumbled shortly after the halfway point.
In a session affected by intermittent light rain, Turkington stamped in a 1m09.134s, only to find that pipped by the Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 of Ash Sutton, who lapped in 1m09.095s.
Moments later, Turkington grabbed the top spot back with 1m08.998s, a new qualifying lap record for BTCC cars at Donington.
A red flag two-thirds of the way through the session, to enable some hefty marshals to shift the chicane tyre stack back into place, preceded a further 10 minutes of running, during which there were no significant improvements.
Dan Cammish in the lead Team Dynamics-run Honda Civic Type R managed to insert himself between Turkington and Sutton, with his lap falling just 0.087s short for a front-row starting position.
Tom Ingram sat at the top of the times on the early runs with his Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Corolla, but didn't manage to improve and eventually qualified fourth.
Fifth was Tom Oliphant, who equalled his best BTCC qualifying performance in his WSR BMW, and shares the third row with Rory Butcher.
The Scot briefly held pole in his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, but then an off on the Craner Curves provided a hairy moment before he rejoined after the Old Hairpin.
Jake Hill's MB Motorsport Honda Civic and the BTC Racing Honda of Jake Cook will share the fourth row, while the top 10 was completed by another Honda – Matt Neal's Dynamics machine – and the Ciceley Mercedes of Adam Morgan.
Jack Goff managed to get out on a track for a couple of laps in his Team Hard Volkswagen, damaged in free practice after a puncture caused him to crash at McLeans.
But there was drama for Goff's teammate Nicolas Hamilton, whose bonnet flew up on the back straight and did not rejoin after going to the pits.
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