Colin Turkington returned to pole position for the first time since 2009 at Croft on Saturday afternoon, and admitted afterwards that the achievement proves that the team and their new BMW 125i can now be a threat for victory.
The eBay Motors driver was lying fourth as the 30-minute qualifying session was brought to a halt for a crash involving Joe Girling, but the Irishman made his final lap of the session count as he leapfrogged Jason Plato to pole position by 0.148s to shock his rivals and take the first pole of his BTCC comeback season.
Turkington, who has won at this track six times in his BTCC career – more than any current driver on the grid – spoke to thecheckeredflag.co.uk after securing his maiden pole of 2013, saying: “We were third quickest this morning so the pace has been in the car.
“We moved a step forward at Oulton Park and had a good test day between Oulton and Croft so we’ve been slowly improving the performance of the car, and I think we’re almost there now. We’re in the best possible position but it’s not going to be easy. So I’ll be working really hard to try and win.”
The performance also underlined the stereotype that the rear-wheel drive BMW machinery perform well around the North Yorkshire circuit, and Turkington echoed that statement after a warm end to an otherwise and rain-disrupted day, adding that WSR can fight for wins on Sunday if the weather stays kind.
“The car is better but we’re not there yet. I still had to work really hard at that lap, but we’ve got the car easier to drive now”, added the Irishman. “This track normally suits rear-wheel drive so all the ingredients are there to make it happen.”
His team-mate Rob Collard rounded out the top six to claim his best qualifying position of the 2013 season thus far, adding further positives from what proved to be a very strong start to the weekend for the team, Nick Foster qualifying in 12th position. Team boss Dick Bennetts also believed Croft suits the BMW, adding: “The BMW has always been a strong car at Croft, the track really suits the rear-wheel drive cars.”