Silverstone BTCC: Tordoff grabs first 2018 pole by 0.018s
Motorbase Performance Ford driver Sam Tordoff took his maiden BTCC pole position of 2018 ahead of the penultimate round at Silverstone.
The 2016 championship runner-up banked his lap early on within the first eight minutes of running, and was forced to wait as others tried to knock him off the top spot.
As the major players were beginning their second runs, the red flag flew to collect the stranded Eurotech Racing Honda of Brett Smith, which had ground to a halt. That left the field with a five-minute dash to improve times, but no one could lower the earlier benchmarks.
Tordoff credited his Motorbase team for turning around his fortunes at Silverstone after he had struggled during the morning’s free practice sessions to 20th and 24th.
“I have come close on many occasions before this season, so it was agonising having to wait and see if someone would beat my time,” said the 29-year-old. “I was really down after the free practice sessions because we were nowhere, but the team has really turned it around.
“We have changed everything on the car and left no stone unturned, and we went one second faster this afternoon than this morning, so it is a real credit to the lads and the team.”
Tordoff’s time was enough to eclipse the earlier benchmark set by Ricky Collard’s ballast-free BMW, which had benefited from a tow from teammate Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington to set a time just 0.018s adrift.
The series newcomer, who is only in his third meeting deputising for his father Rob who has stepped down for health reasons, said he was learning all the time about the rear-wheel-drive car.
Heading up the second row is the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus of Tom Chilton, a winner last time out at Knockhill, despite the fact he was carrying 33kg of success ballast into the meeting.
Last year’s Silverstone pole winner Jack Goff will line up fourth in his Eurotech Racing Honda ahead of Jordan and Matt Neal in the factory Team Dynamics Honda.
Turkington, leading the points chase coming in to the meeting, could only struggle to 18th in his car laden with 75kg of success ballast. His main rival Tom Ingram was 19th in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota, which was carrying 66kg of extra lead.
Third in the championship Ash Sutton was 25th of the runners in his Team BMR Subaru, one place ahead of his teammate Jason Plato
Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, 1938-2018
Silverstone BTCC: Tordoff wins Race 1 from pole