Colin Turkington told TCF that his pole position at Donington Park came as a surprise to him, the reigning Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion securing a fine first pole for BMR Racing.
The Northern Irishman left it late to produce his best effort of the day at the Leicester circuit in qualifying, narrowly missing out on lowering the lap record in the process as he claimed his first pole in a front-wheel drive BTCC car since Knockhill 2005.
Turkington edged out Gordon Shedden and Volkswagen team-mate Jason Plato in a tight session that saw the trio separated by just 0.069s, a result that he said he was possible, but unexpected after Plato comfortably topped both practice sessions.
“I didn’t really think that I would be on pole position”, Turkington admitted afterwards to The Checkered Flag following his pole effort. “Certainly not after free practice.
“We knew, going off Jason’s pace, what was there for us. I just had to string it together.
“Through practice I was still not quite happy with the car and it didn’t feel suited to me. The focus in qualifying was to learn a little bit more of what I was after.”
Focus shifts to Sunday’s trio of races, Turkington confident that the BMR Volkswagen CC has to pace to convert pole position into victory after team-mate Plato was unfortunate not to clinch a win at Brands Hatch.
Turkington added on BMR’s anticipated race pace: “Going on what Jason did at Brands then I’d think [I can win]. My race pace was not that great then but I think, if you’re fast over one lap, it’s possible to make it last. I don’t think we need to do anything different.
“I’m still progressing myself and my technique, but there were still some decent chunks left on the table for qualifying.
“It’s very satisfying to make the progress that I have through the day. To be fast in a new car, I just want to enjoy the moment. We’ve got part of the job done. It’s another big step in my development with the car.”
The reigning champion admitted that he is still in a learning process with his new environment, adapting from rear-wheel drive BMW machinery that he has driven since 2007.
He concluded: “I’m still working hard on it; just concentrating on what I know makes the car go faster. To do that, I need to make sure that I don’t fall back into default of how the BMW felt.”