Colin Turkington claimed pole position on times for the seventh round of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill, but a grid penalty means that Triple Eight‘s Sam Tordoff will take the top spot for tomorrow’s opening race.
The blistering pace set by Turkington saw him lower the lap record in the 30-minute session held in drying conditions, but with the eight-place grid penalty he must take applied, MG’s Tordoff moves onto pole position ahead of the flying Rob Austin.
The action on a drying circuit was initially thick and fast as drivers got to grips with the conditions following the second practice downpour.
Turkington started strongest as the rear-wheel drive BMWs and Audis took to the circuit for their opening flying laps, the Northern Irishman the first of over 10 changes to the top spot before a red flag interruption after 10 minutes of qualifying.
The stoppage was rectified quickly by removing the Chevrolet Cruze of Chris Stockton which spun at Leslies, after which times began to tumble.
Reigning champion Andrew Jordan had been on top of the pile when the red flags were waved, and qualifying soon became a 15-minute sprint as the top spot chopped and changed with Matt Neal usurping the Pirtek Racing Honda driver from first place.
Championship leader Turkington played his next card in the pack with two strong laps that first leaped him up to third, then pole position with a time of 52.076s.
That time would later be smashed by Turkington himself late in the session, lowering the lap record significantly with two efforts good enough to end on a pole time of 51.705s, although his effort will only mean he starts ninth on the grid as a result of the penalty he must take.
With that in mind, the battle for second place became of prime interest, Gordon Shedden initially leaping ahead of Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Neal to take the advantage.
The Civic Tourer duo’s glory was short-lived however, as Triple Eight’s Tordoff soon jumped the pair of them into second place and provisional pole – albeit 0.464s off the BMW of Turkington. Austin almost made it two poles in as many years at Knockhill as he climbed to third in the closing stages, the second row of tomorrow’s first race set to be filled by Jordan and Shedden’s Hondas.
Neal will share row three with long-time rival Jason Plato, Mat Jackson next up ahead of Rob Collard, although the latter will be sent to the back of the grid to serve his punishment for three season offences.
Nick Foster was next up in the third WSR BMW and will start eighth ahead of Turkington with all penalties surrounding his team-mates applied, Glynn Geddie brilliantly making the top 10 for United Autosports at his home circuit.
Tom Ingram will start 13th after Speedworks Motorsport worked more than hard enough to change the engine in his Toyota Avensis, ahead of Alain Menu and Dave Newsham who were the last of 16 cars separated by just under a second.