West Surrey Racing will lock out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, Sam Tordoff clinching his first pole position in BMW colours.
The BMW squad picked up from where they left off earlier on Saturday at the North Yorkshire circuit, Andy Priaulx again the initial pace setter as he had been for much of the day’s two practice sessions.
The triple World Touring Car Champion looked on course for his second pole position in five qualifying sessions this year with his best effort of 1m23.956s, extending his cushion to 0.400s with just three minutes remaining, until team-mate Tordoff stole the advantage with a 1m23.886s lap.
The pole position was the Leeds racer’s first in BMW colours, also backing up his maiden victory for the squad recently at Oulton Park.
Priaulx made it a WSR one-two, which briefly became a lock-out of the top three before Rob Collard was demoted from third to fourth behind Gordon Shedden‘s Honda – Collard’s time removed for disrespecting track limits.
Colin Turkington was best of the Team BMR Volkswagens in fifth spot, the Northern Irishman’s run of three consecutive Croft pole positions ending on Saturday.
Matt Neal – third in the championship – settled for sixth place, while Rob Austin confirmed the pace of rear-wheel drive cars by putting his Audi A4 seventh ahead of Jack Goff‘s Triple Eight MG6 GT.
Adam Morgan was next up in ninth place for Mercedes, the top 10 rounded out by last year’s race three winner, Andrew Jordan (MG).
Championship leader Jason Plato could only manage 12th place overall for Team BMR on a difficult day in North Yorkshire, behind team-mate Aron Smith. The result was the first time Plato qualified outside the top 10 since Silverstone 2006.
Tom Ingram had his best time removed also on his way to 13th place, while Josh Cook was top rookie in 19th place for Power Maxed Racing ahead of team-mate Dave Newsham.
Nic Hamilton‘s debut qualifying session saw him finish 29th, 4.1s off the pace and ahead of Team HARD‘s Kieran Gallagher who stopped out on track at the hairpin with mechanical problems.
Max Coates meanwhile finished 28th, just two tenths shy of Support Our Paras Racing team-mate, Derek Palmer Jr.