Tom Ingram stormed to a lap record-breaking pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session for the third Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting of the season at Thruxton.
Qualifying became a fascinating duel between the Speedworks Motorsport man and championship leader Matt Neal, the former coming out on top for his second pole position of the season.
The session saw numerous drivers lose their times for disrespecting track limits at various stages during the 30 minutes, Ingram losing one effort that would have broken Andrew Jordan‘s 2014 lap record.
Neal also lost a time that would have put him quickest early on, Ingram losing a second time that would have been good enough for pole before finally making it stick with a time of 1m16.499s to move to the top of the timesheets.
The battle was not over however, Neal swiftly pumping in a time to better the Brands Hatch winner, before Ingram sealed the deal with a stunning 1m16.161s effort to beat the previous lap record – something he felt was achievable earlier in the afternoon.
A spoiler soon came into the mix with five minutes to go, Aiden Moffat splitting the dicing duo by moving up onto the front row of the grid for Mercedes. Neal was bumped down to the second row as a result, just 0.086s adrift despite carrying 75kg of success ballast in his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R.
Triple Eight enjoyed a fine qualifying session meanwhile, Josh Cook joining Neal on row two ahead of MG team-mate Ashley Sutton.
Adam Morgan was next up in the second Mercedes A-Class, Jeff Smith moving up to seventh for Eurotech while Jordan, Aron Smith and Sam Tordoff rounded out the top 10.
Reigning champion Gordon Shedden could only manage 11th in the second Halfords Honda, Colin Turkington again the top Subaru driver in 13th overall for Team BMR.
Rookie Daniel Lloyd impressed for Eurotech, his first flying lap good enough for ninth before eventually finishing 16th. Chris Smiley suffered an off for Team HARD, while Warren Scott was another to loop his Subaru Levorg GT.