Jason Plato has taken yet another pole of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, his fourth of the season at Rockingham. Meanwhile in the championship battle Fabrizio Giovanardi holds a seven placed grid advantage over Colin Turkington with...
Jason Plato has taken yet another pole of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, his fourth of the season at Rockingham. Meanwhile in the championship battle Fabrizio Giovanardi holds a seven placed grid advantage over Colin Turkington with Giovanardi in seventh and Turkington in fourteenth.
A delighted Plato said afterwards, "I'm really pleased with my lap considering my car is carrying success ballast (27kgs) which we reckon is worth another three tenths of a second. I really nailed it and I think there's a sniff of a couple of wins tomorrow" Although when asked about his slim title chances Plato replied "don't ask me about the title - yes, Colin and Fabrizio are way too far in front to catch. Anyone asking me about I'm telling to behave."
Giovanardi disagrees, believing Plato remains a threat and said, "He tells people he has no chance but he is always crying too much. He could win twice tomorrow and me and Colin only pick up third and fourth places and suddenly he is there right with us before we go to Brands Hatch." Giovanardi also went on to say that he was pleased to be starting ahead of Turkington but admits from his position he could go either way saying, "With one face I am happy because of where Colin is but with another face I am not so happy because Jason is on pole position. It could go many different ways from where I am - a good start and I could be up with Jason or a good start from Colin and he could be with me. For sure, he will be quite a bit higher than 14th in race one tomorrow."
Championship leader Turkington admitted that it had been a tough day and hopes race day will be a different story by saying, "We've been chasing our tails all day with car set-up. Sure, my car is carrying the most success ballast (45kgs) but I don't think that's the problem. We need to have a good look to see if we can turn it around for tomorrow."
So that's how the championship contenders line up. Behind Plato will be three drivers hoping to win for different reasons. In second will be Jonny Adam. Adam hopes that he will be benefit from his rear wheel drive BMW and this will propel him to his maiden BTCC win and said, "I'm delighted with that. I was quick here in the mid-season test and was quick out of the blocks again in practice this morning. I really want to get my first win in the BTCC and hopefully I can take advantage of the BMW's rear-wheel-drive traction and get away in the lead but Jason is always a tough nut to crack."
On row two will be Mat Jackson hoping to continue his superb recent form with 3 wins and 6 podiums out of the last 6 races, with Stephen Jelley in 4th hoping to secure his maiden win as well as hoping to aid Turkington in his championship fight. In row 3 will be a pair of happy drivers with the sole sunshine. Honda Integra of Paul O'Neill just ahead of returnee Gordon Shedden in his Seat Leon under the name of Club Seat.
Alongside Giovanardi will be Rob Collard, just ahead of Johnny Herbert, who continues to get used to Touring Cars, with Tom Chilton continuing to impress placing tenth in his ever improving Team Aon Focus fresh from his best position of the year, 5th last time out at Silverstone.
Just outside the top 10 will be Andrew Jordan with a pair of Chevrolet Lacetti's behind him with James Nash ahead of Harry Vaulkhard. Turkington as previously mentioned is 14th ahead of early championship pace setter Matt Neal, who unfortunately continues his recent poor form after a crash during free practice meant a late start to the qualifying session.
Dave Pinkney will start 16th in the second Team Dynamics Honda Civic with Tom Onslow-Cole in 17th who continues in the second Team Aon Focus. Anthony Reid is 18th while he still is trying getting to get to grips in the third Team RAC BMW, he lines up just in front of Martin Johnson.
Next up will be BTCC debutant Matt Hamilton in a Honda Civic, which was last seen racing in 2006 in the hands of James Kaye. Sadly for Hamilton, his Civic which is run by TH Motorsport, stopped out on circuit causing a red flag. This will mark Hamilton's first car race having only had previous experience in single seaters in Formula Ford and Formula Palmer Audi. Lining up last on the grid and completing a miserable day for TH Motorsport will be John George after his Honda Integra only managed an out lap.
So that's how they line up on the grid. Be sure to return to see who will take the all-important lead going into the final round of the championship. Will it be Turkington or Giovanardi, or will Plato even somehow claw his way back into the championship hunt? Be sure to return for full race day reviews before the championship heads to the last round at Brands Hatch.