Jeff Smith Swims To Maiden BTCC Pole At Brands Hatch


Jeff Smith claimed a sensational maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position in a rain-affected qualifying session at Brands Hatch.

The Eurotech Racing squad also claimed a first pole position since 2014, team boss Smith timing his best effort to perfection in between showers at the Kent circuit.

Smith’s time was 0.086s quicker than last year’s pole-sitter, Tom Ingram, rain late in the session confirming his maiden BTCC pole position after two red flag stoppages.

Colin Turkington was quick out of the blocks for Team BMW, topping the times before the session was halted after just six minutes. The cause was Dave Newsham, beaching his BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze in the Paddock Hill Bend gravel trap.

That delay allowed the weather to start playing its part in qualifying, as spots of rain began to fall around Brands Hatch.

First to be caught out was the reigning champion, Gordon Shedden spinning at Surtees on his first lap out of the pits on the restart. Ashley Sutton was another who visited the scenery at Paddock Hill Bend, causing a second red flag interruption.

Ingram had moved to the head of the times before the second delay, but his effort was stunned by the Honda Civic Type-R of Smith moments before the red flags were waved.

“I hope it rains and rains and rains” was the response of Eurotech’s Smith during the second delay as rain became heavier – a wish he got.

Senna Proctor slid off the road at Druids and parked his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra in the gravel, before one final downpour with 10 minutes remaining sealed the deal for Smith.

His time of 48.367s would not be beaten in the remaining 15 minutes of the session, Smith claiming his first pole position ahead of Ingram and the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda pairing of Shedden and Matt Neal.

Turkington was forced to settle for row three alongside Adam Morgan (Mercedes), Smith’s team-mate Jack Goff seventh while Rob Austin (Toyota) and the rapid pair of Jake Hill (Volkswagen) and Matt Simpson (Honda) rounded out the top 10.

An off at Clearways scuppered Rob Collard‘s late run, lining up 15th behind Mat Jackson and ahead of top rookie, Proctor.

Jason Plato could only muster 18th place for Team BMR, best of the Subaru Levorg quartet. Josh Price qualified 31st meanwhile in his first BTCC qualifying session.