Simon Rudd starts year on top with Rockingham Pole

In an anticlimactic end to the session, Simon Rudd took the first pole position of the year, being the only driver to drop below the 1min 30 bracket. The session was eventually stopped with 4 minutes to go after Tom Witts threw it away on a fast lap.

As an experienced VW Cup runner, many had high expectations of Rudd coming into the year and a strong result in qualifying will please his sponsors as he looks to improve on his 2015 result.

After a number of strong laps towards the front end of the session, Rudd was the driver to beat with six minutes to go. He surprised the opposition by pitting, but with his nearest two competitors doing the same, his gamble was rewarded, benefitting slightly from the red flag.

In second overall will be the VW Scirroco of Jack Walker-Tully. He decided to go out for another flying lap in the closing stages, but was unable to get up to speed before Witts spun into the barrier, cutting the session short.

The second row will be filled with the early pace setter, Phil House and the VW Polo machine of Bobby Thompson. While it was not expecting to finish at the back, the Power Maxed Racing team will be pleased to see the Polo was competitive as it makes it debut this weekend.

Eyes were also on Stefan di Resta, as he races the Polo for the first time. As the brother to former DTM champion Paul di Resta, he’ll be hoping for a strong result this weekend as he looks to uphold the family name. Though a poor qualifying sees him line up fourteenth, at the back, after pulling off the track early with a problem.