Colin Turkington admitted that he didn’t expect to claim a historic Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position for Subaru at Oulton Park.
The double BTCC champion set the benchmark early in the 30-minute qualifying session at the Cheshire circuit, clinching his 15th career pole position and the first for Subaru in just their fourth meeting.
Turkington will share the front row with Daniel Lloyd for Sunday’s 10th race of the season, while team-mate Jason Plato ensured that two Team BMR Levorg GT machines will start inside the top six.
“The times are extremely close”, Turkington told The Checkered Flag after a historic day for Subaru. “I’m on pole so I’ve given myself the best chance for today. The package is improving all the time.
“It was a great day for us yesterday to get pole position. The first pole position for Subaru is a landmark. I was really pleased but also a little bit surprised because I didn’t expect us to be just as competitive.”
The historic result completed a remarkable turnaround for the Subaru outfit, who return with upgraded components and engine developments after being forced to withdraw from the previous three races at Thruxton on safety grounds.
“It’s a big turnaround from not racing at Thruxton to being at pole Oulton Park”, Turkington added. “It shows a really good sign of progress. We had our first test with the car down at Pembrey last week and made some gains there. It’s all moving in the right direction.
“The priority was ensuring reliability but once we had that under control we started working on the chassis. We improved every bit really.
“Straight-line speed definitely isn’t our strength at the moment. We need to keep working on that side. The whole package is moving forward but we need to keep improving the car and the engine.”
On whether the team can translate their strong Saturday pace into a victory on Sunday, Turkington said: “We’ll have to wait and see. It’s new territory for us to lead from the front. The car was good even through free practice so we should have a good race car.
“Historically this is a good place for RWD cars. Hopefully that will work to our advantage. You always say the hotter, the better, but you’ve got to remember you’ve got to drive the thing – it gets warm!”
The Northern Irishman admitted that the BMR squad entered the fourth meeting as confident as they have done all season, adding: “It’s quite a step forward from our previous efforts so far. I’m just getting more familiar with the car. It just gets easier to drive so naturally you become more confident.”