James Cole hopes to challenge for a top-five finish after a strong Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Knockhill.
The Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT squad enjoyed a memorable qualifying session in mixed conditions at the Fife circuit, Jason Plato and Ashley Sutton locking out the front row while Cole secured sixth on the grid.
A switch to slicks earlier in the second half of the session for Cole mirrored the situation drivers faced in the day’s opening free practice session, resulting in a late dash for pole position on a drying track.
Cole said that patience was key over set-up, paying off as he ended just 0.781s adrift of team-mate Plato in sixth overall.
“It was good”, Cole told The Checkered Flag afterwards. “It was very similar to FP1 where it started off raining and you just knew that it would dry out.
“It was a matter of when, not if. In the wet I didn’t even focus on set-up really. I just waited and waited but decided to go for the slicks quite early, pounded around and it came good.”
Several drivers struggled to get their dry tyres to work in the drying conditions initially, but Cole said his experience from free practice gave him confidence to stick by his decision.
“It maybe was a bit too early at the time, but you’ve just got to wait. We wouldn’t have come back in”, he said. “We practiced it in the morning, so it was all about sticking with the plan.”
At a circuit traditionally suited to RWD cars, Cole hopes to fight for a top-five finish in Sunday’s opening race of the day. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow”, he said. “We’ve got good pace, so we just need to latch onto the back of the mass of RWD cars, form a train and bu**er off!
“Who knows, the top four might even run into each other on the first lap and leave a nice path for me; if I finish fifth or better in the first race then I’ll be very happy.”