Matt Simpson has taken his first career pole position in the BTCC at Oulton Park in his Simpson Racing Honda.
The 36-year-old, who had topped the second free practice session, carried that form into the 30-minute timed session and banked his lap with his first run. He ended up 0.243s clear of the Motorbase Performance Ford of Sam Tordoff.
“This is an amazing feeling,” said Simpson. “It is something I have been dreaming about since I joined the British Touring Car Championship and I can’t thank the team enough: the car was just superb.”
Simpson had a small spill on his second run and slid wide at the Island hairpin, although no one would eclipse his earlier time.
“I was jolly glad that I managed to get it back onto the circuit without hitting anything too solid,” said Simpson.
“We were running a softer brake because I thought it had better feel, but we were not sure if it would last for two runs, and it just wore out and I just lost the brake pedal.”
Behind Tordoff, teammate Tom Chilton was third in the Shredded Wheat-backed Motorbase Performance Ford Focus. He shared row two with the WSR BMW of Andrew Jordan.
The top four qualifiers were running without championship success ballast. The highest placed racer with weight was Matt Neal in the Team Dynamics Honda, who put the new-shaped raced in fifth spot with 33kg of ballast.
He will share the third row with Jack Goff’s Eurotech Honda, which was fitted with 48kg of success ballast.
The top 10 is rounded out by the Eurotech Honda of Brett Smith, the Motorbase Ford of James Cole, WSR BMW man Colin Turkington and Ciceley Mercedes driver Tom Oliphant.
The points leader coming into the meeting, Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan, struggled with the 75kg of success ballast on his Mercedes and that restricted him to 19th.
Second in the points, Josh Cook, also had issues with his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall. He had 66kg of extra weight and suspension tweaks midway through the 30 minute session left him down in 20th spot.