Matt Simpson said that he now has ‘belief’ in himself after claiming his first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position at Oulton Park for Round 10.
The Simpson Racing man backed up his strong pace in Free Practice earlier in the afternoon by planting his Honda Civic Type-R on pole position at the Cheshire circuit, ahead of the the Motorbase Performance duo of Sam Tordoff and Tom Chilton.
Simpson has enjoyed a more consistent showing inside the top 10 in the early meetings of 2018, and said he felt a new-found sense of belief in his own ability.
“The car’s the same, the engine’s the same; it’s a different team, but I’m a different person”, Simpson told TCF after qualifying.
“I believe in myself more that I can do it. I believe I’m here for a reason and it’s my right to be on the grid. I feel like I’m as good as anyone out there. It’s not big-headed – you need to have your own belief.
“It’s great to be a part of this team and I’ve got the confidence now so I can’t thank everyone enough.”
The pole lap came early in the 30-minute session and, despite a brief excursion, Simpson felt it was important to achieve a fast lap as soon as possible to avoid brake issues at the technical circuit.
“The car was really, really good from the go. I wanted to try and get a banker lap in as quick as possible as I didn’t want the brakes to fade, which they did.
“The track got more and more rubbered in too, so it was about trying to get a clean lap in, which we did. The second set of tyres were definitely not as quick. I just couldn’t meet braking points like I did with the first [set].”
Simpson will start the opening race on Sunday with the option Dunlop tyre, but remains confident in the Civic’s race pace.
“The front of the grid tomorrow is going to be heaven”, he enthused, “because I’ll have nobody to overtake!
“We’re on the option tyre, so hopefully we can convert that into a podium, but let’s see what tomorrow brings. Race pace has never been a problem, so I’m not worried about that tomorrow.”