Sam Tordoff was thrilled to have claimed pole position for the seventh round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill, inheriting the top spot from championship leader, Colin Turkington.
The Triple Eight driver put in a lap that surprised even himself on his second set of tyres after a set-up change in between, good enough to finish in the crucial second position, albeit 0.464s off the pace of the untouchable BMW 125i of Turkington.
An eight-place grid penalty puts the West Surrey Racing man down to ninth however, Tordoff taking pole position in a session that he said profited from the team’s test prior to the event at Pembrey.
“It was a great [qualifying] session”, Tordoff enthused to The Checkered Flag afterwards. “It all just came together.
“I had a bit of an issue with the feel of it this morning but we’ve definitely improved it a lot since last year; we struggled really badly last year, but we’ve come a long way. We did a test earlier this week [at Pembrey] and thought we’d found a lot of things, and we’ve bolted it all together this weekend and it’s gone well.
“After FP1 and FP2 the confidence builds, and then suddenly we arrive in qualifying thinking we’ve got an outside chance. I didn’t think we could quite get pole but I did think we could get top-five.
“We changed something between the first set of tyres and the second that we bolted on, and that change we made on the car found us four tenths of a second which was the time that made it for us.
“That was the right change. I couldn’t reproduce it on the last run but it wasn’t needed in the end.”
Tordoff and the Triple Eight squad endured a troublesome weekend last year at the Fife circuit, and feels that a change in fortune will come his way after a second pole position in his BTCC career.
“I’m thrilled, because I’ve never really gone well round here before”, he added, his team-mate Jason Plato starting sixth on the grid.
“Last year was a horrible weekend! The car broke down before the start of the third race, so this year it’s looking like a change in fortune is coming our way which is nice.”
The Leeds driver will share the front row of the grid with the Audi of last year’s pole-sitter, Rob Austin, and believes that the pace of the MG in wet and dry conditions this season is more than capable of enabling him to convert pole into victory on Sunday.
“I thinks so; if we can get a good start then this place is notoriously difficult to overtake at. I think there’ll be some big battles behind me that will take care of the pack, so I just need to keep my eyes forward and hopefully a win is on the cards.”