Silverstone: Series qualifying report

ALL-FORD FRONT ROW IN BTCC QUALIFYING AT SILVERSTONE Team Aon drivers Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton made it an all-Ford front-row in Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. The...

ALL-FORD FRONT ROW IN BTCC QUALIFYING AT SILVERSTONE

Team Aon drivers Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton made it an all-Ford front-row in Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire.

The pair put the extra torque generated by the LPG turbo engines in their Ford Focuses to good use on Silverstone's long straights and were some half a second clear of the rest of the field, headed by the normally-aspirated Silverline Chevrolet Cruze of Alex MacDowall.

Championship leaders Jason Plato and Matt Neal were fourth and fifth. Plato's Silverline Cruze and Neal's Honda Racing Team Honda Civic, it should be noted, qualified with 45kgs and 36kgs of success ballast respectively due to their current championship positions.

Onslow-Cole (pictured) shattered the BTCC's qualifying record around Silverstone's short National circuit with a best lap of 59.659s to achieve the fourth pole position of his career. Chilton was 0.222s behind with a time of 59.881s. It means they will line up first and second on the starting grid for the first of tomorrow's three BTCC races at Silverstone - the first Ford 1-2 in a BTCC qualifying session since 2000.

New Malden-based Onslow-Cole, currently fourth in the standings and who overcame 18kgs of ballast to take pole, said: "I'm really pleased with that one. We knew this would be a good circuit for us but maybe we're both a bit surprised by the margin. I need three strong results here to keep up the pressure in the title race and pole for race one gives me a great chance of achieving that."

Surrey's Chilton, seventh in the table, added: "A really great result for the team in qualifying but I'm slightly gutted Tom got a bit of a tow off me which helped him. Then when I went out again for a final run at the end the circuit seemed to have lost a bit of grip so that was that."

Oxford-based Plato, who is now just three race wins short of Andy Rouse's all-time record of 60 in the BTCC, commented: "The Fords seem to be in a class of their own here so I'm looking to be best of the rest. Ideally I'll at least maintain the 20-point gap I've got on Matt as the last three circuits on the calendar will be better for his car."

Tomorrow's three BTCC races from Silverstone will receive full live TV coverage on the ITV4 channel as part of mammoth broadcast from 11.30am-6.00pm.

-source: btcc

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Series BTCC
Drivers Tom Chilton , Jason Plato , Matt Neal , Tom Onslow-Cole , Alex MacDowall