Onslow-Cole takes maiden pole at Oulton Park

Onslow-Cole takes maiden pole at Oulton Park

Tom Onslow-Cole will start on pole for the first time in his career for round 10 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Onslow-Cole took his Ford Focus to the front of the grid to ensure that the blue oval will start on pole position...

Tom Onslow-Cole will start on pole for the first time in his career for round 10 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Onslow-Cole took his Ford Focus to the front of the grid to ensure that the blue oval will start on pole position for the third round running, after Tom Chilton, his team mate, took the last two pole positions at Rockingham and Brands Hatch. What makes this pole even better is the fact that Team Aon have been made to put a restrictor on their LPG turbo powered Focus.

Tom Onslow-Cole.
Photo by Pat Cranham.

Nonetheless this did not stop Onslow-Cole and he said afterwads, "It's about time! I'm really chuffed with that because I wasn't on the pace in the two practice sessions but really had a good look at the data and made some changes to the car, which worked a treat. It's also a great feeling to be on pole at Oulton as it's a real test for a driver."

Amazingly the top 4 cars on the grid all finished within 0.069s of each other. Joining Onslow-Cole on the front of the grid will be,the first of the two Honda Racing Civics, Gordon Shedden, who will be closely followed by both Silverline Chevrolets.

Shedden said following his front row qualifying, "I felt I could maybe have got a fraction more out of the car which is slightly frustrating considering how close I am to pole but it's still good to be starting from the front row. Jason's pace with that ballast in his car is something I think we all need to keep an eye out for."

Plato, despite qualifying in a very good third and more importantly ahead of his main title challenges, was still slightly disappointed and said, "My first lap, when the tyres were at their freshest, should have been my best but it didn't quite all come together. I actually set my time when the best had gone out of the tyres. But I'm in there at the sharp end and we've made some good improvements with the car in recent testing so not so bad."

Lining up alongside Plato will be team mate Alex MacDowall, who put in a fine performance. He will start ahead of the second Team Aon Focus of Chilton, who had previously topped both morning free practice sessions, and the first of the BMW's driven by Rob Collard.

Joint championship leader Matt Neal will start 7th with fans favourite Paul O'Neill 8th at his home event. It could have been a lot better though for O'Neill as he managed just 4 laps in his Sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra after he had to pull over coming out of Cascades with Gearbox troubles.

The first Airwaves BMW of Mat Jackson will start 9th with team mate Steven Kane starting 11th. Despite not starting inside the top 10 Kane said after qualifying, "I'm actually quite happy as I have a fair bit of ballast in the car which I'm getting used to. The gap isn't ridiculous and tomorrow is totally different and I think three top five finishes are on."

Sandwiching the two Airwaves BMW will be James Nash, in the sole Triple 8 racing Vectra, with the other driver who calls this his home circuit, Tom Boardman, in 12th in his Special Tuning UK seat Leon.

Next up was another star of qualifying Lea Wood in his Central Group Racing Integra. This is only Wood's second BTCC meeting and, after narrowly missing out on a point on his debut, he shone. Wood said afterwards, "I certainly wasn't expecting that. We just went out there, put four new tyres and tried to hold on for the best we could get and it's worked out quite well! But we are still very new to this and so it's non-stop for us trying to find out what does and doesn't work on the car. My plans tomorrow are just to finish each race. If I can do that I'll be happy."

Lining up 14th will be Andy Neate in the second WSR BMW. Despite missing out on the top 10, Neate showed good pace during the morning's free practice session finishing inside the top 10. Dave Pinkney will line up 15th in his Vauxhall Vectra with Matt Hamilton lining up alongside him in the TH Motorsport Honda Civic.

Martin Depper put in a good performance to finish just a few tenths behind Hamilton. For the second race running he is ahead of his team mate Arthur Forster who will line up alongside Depper in their Forster Motorsport BMW's.

John George had an action packed session as normal, which included a spin at Cascades with Shaurn Hollamby next up. He managed to complete a large number of laps in all sessions while they continue to develop their stunning VW Golf.

Last driver to qualify was Martin Johnson. Johnson has had more than a difficult week following the passing of his father, who was also team manager of Boulevard racing. As a result the driver who scores the most points from the weekend will receive a special award in his honour. Johnson also had a difficult day with car trouble in both free practices which no doubt affected him during qualifying.

Last car on the grid will be Andrew Jordan who missed qualifying altogether with engine trouble on his Pirtek Racing Vectra.

This will be a major disappointment for Jordan who was expecting big thing this weekend particularly after topping recent official testing at Rockingham.

So that's how they will line up for the opening race of the day. Although today took place in glorious sunshine, there is the threat of rain and even storms later during the day, which could add more chaos to what already promises to be an action packed day. So be sure to return to motorsport.com for all reaction and images following the day's event.

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Tom Chilton , Matt Neal , Rob Collard , John George , Tom Onslow-Cole , Gordon Shedden , Andrew Jordan , Martin Johnson , Dave Pinkney , James Nash , Mat Jackson , Andy Neate , Martin Depper , Lea Wood , Alex MacDowall