Andrew Jordan came out on top in a dramatic opening qualifying session of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
With the heaviest snow shower of the day falling during the preceding session, the drivers were greeted with tricky track conditions as they headed out for the first qualifying session of the season.
First to get caught out was Jeff Smith, the Pirtek Racing man producing a trademark drift at Paddock Hill, though a matter of seconds later the session was red flagged with two minutes gone on the clock.
Returning 2009 champion Colin Turkington spun exiting Druids hairpin, and as the pack came round behind, an unsighted Jack Goff couldn’t avoid his stricken BMW, causing a nasty collision between the two that ruled both out of the remainder of the session.
After a lengthy delay the session restarted, with it being the turn of Matt Neal to get caught out on cold tyres, the three-time champion just managing to avoid the tyre barrier at the exit of Graham Hill Bend before re-joining the track.
As the track began to dry out the times started to tumble, with the usual suspects rising to the top, Honda Yuasa Racing duo Gordon Shedden and Neal, MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato and Pirtek Racing’s Jordan.
Jordan topped the timesheets at the halfway stage of the session, at which point the weather conditions started to deteriorate again, with the drivers heading swiftly into the pitlane.
With the conditions not improving, the competitive part of the session was over, leaving Jordan to sit back and savour pole position with his best lap of 48.387s. Reigning champion Shedden will join him on the front row for tomorrow’s opening race, having lapped just 0.096s shy of pole, with Plato third.
Neal makes it three NGTC Honda Civic’s in the top four, with Sam Tordoff continuing his strong start in the KX Momentum-backed MG6 with fifth on the grid, the top five split by less than four tenths of a second.
Newsham was sixth quickest on his first weekend in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis, the Scotsman just edging out Rob Austin and Jeff Smith.
Nick Foster ended up quickest of the eBay Motors BMW’s in ninth, with his team-mate Rob Collard languishing down in thirteenth. Collard was sandwiched by the Ford Focus NGTC’s of Mat Jackson and Aron Smith, the Airwaves Racing duo’s tough day continuing into qualifying.
Enduring the most frustrating session of all was Frank Wrathall, with a failed ride height test losing him a top ten time and leaving him with just five minutes to battle the elements and set a competitive time. The Dynojet driver ended up not setting a time, leaving him 25th on the grid.
In the S2000 class, pole went the way of Lea Wood, with his time of 50.011s proving to be over a second faster than his closest rivals, AMD Tuning’s James Kaye and Addison Lee Motorbase’s Liam Griffin.
You can view the full qualifying results here: http://tsl-timing.com/?loc=major&season=2013&series=BTCC&event=races&source=ed_TOCA&eventid=131303&table=131303qu1trg&tabletype=gif