Adam Morgan qualified a competitive fourth on the grid for Sunday’s first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race from Thruxton, the Mercedes man targeting a visit to the podium.
The truncated session saw two stoppages for separate incidents, after which Morgan became a contender for pole position and briefly moved to the head of the times with less than five minutes to go.
That time was disallowed for disrespecting track limits, although his next flying lap was enough to jump him onto the second row of the grid and continue the strong start to the season for Mercedes.
“I had no idea what was going on!” Morgan quipped to The Checkered Flag after the eventful qualifying session. “I’ve always struggled in qualifying, but when you’ve got the car underneath you, you can really take your brain out and give it a good go.
“I remember coming across the line and then my engineer said pole and I thought ‘mint’, then after sector two on the next lap he said it was disallowed and I was back in ninth. I just carried on.
“The car is on rails at the minute”, added the Ciceley Racing man on the A-Class. “We managed to do three 1m16.9s laps. It’s absolutely flying.”
Morgan will start behind pole-sitter Aron Smith and the Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Type-R machines of Gordon Shedden and championship leader, Matt Neal, the latter carrying 75kg of success ballast into race one on Sunday.
Morgan added: “The Hondas are on quite a bit of weight but they can still get a good lap time out of them.
“The benefit for us is that we’ve got slightly less weight than the people around us, and our race pace seemed pretty good in FP1. Hopefully in the races we’ll be able to keep the tyres working towards the end of the races.”
Already a podium finisher this season, Morgan added that the race pace displayed on a longer run in opening practice on Saturday brought encouraging results to take on board ahead of Sunday’s races.
Podiums remain the target, Morgan saying: “We’ve compared our race pace to a few other people’s and we’re right on it.
“I think we could be pushing for the podium in the first race, so if we can stay out of trouble in the first couple of corners then I can latch onto the back of the Hondas. Hopefully our race pace will be better.”