Qualifying for the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone has seen Team GardX Racing with Motorbase driver Sam Tordoff take pole position for the first time this season by just a hundredth of a second.
The Ford Focus RS driver had struggled in the earlier free practice sessions until his fastest time was set with quite a considerable amount of time left in the session. However, the Rockingham disappointment when he was pipped in the final moments didn’t materialise and the Yorkshireman took his fifth career BTCC pole.
Second on the grid went the way of Team BMW driver Ricky Collard who was ever so close to a dream pole position in just his third weekend as part of the BTCC circus. It’s incredibly rare to see the Collard name this far up the grid so Ricky did an impeccable job to be the best of the BMW’s.
Tom Chilton rounded off a great Saturday for Motorbase as he will line up his Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Focus RS third on the grid. Despite 30kg of ballast on his car, it didn’t seem to impact the speed and Tom was incredibly pleased to get his weekend to a great start at one of his favourite circuits.
Jack Goff put recent round disappointment behind him as he qualified fourth, Andrew Jordan took fifth whilst Matt Neal was the second best Honda in sixth.
Matt Simpson had his best showing in qualifying since his split from Eurotech with seventh ahead of an improved Aiden Moffat in eighth. Adam Morgan set the ninth best time.
Tenth went the way of Brett Smith who had to deal with technical gremlins that kept on stopping his Honda Civic Type R on the circuit. The second time he stopped actually brought out the red flag with five minutes left to run. However, with laptimes looking unlikely to improve within that time. Brett was safe to join his team-mate in the top ten.
Outside of the top ten, title rivals Colin Turkington and Tom Ingram qualified eighteenth and nineteenth respectively. Ballast being the deciding factor in their speed and lowly grid positions. All eyes will be on the back to see whether they can keep out of trouble.
Mike Bushell looked to be favourite for pole position ahead of the session. However, Mike wasn’t able to keep his car within the track limits and had some of his best times deleted. A spin at the exit of Copse wasn’t in the script and he had to ultimately make do with a disappointing fifteenth place.
Practice one leader Tom Oliphant set the twelfth best time, reigning champion Ashley Sutton took twenty-fifth ahead of his team-mate Jason Plato whilst Knockhill front row qualifier Stephen Jelley had to make do with twenty-second.
The two newcomers to the championship Josh Caygill and Ethan Hammerton qualified in thirtieth and thirty-first respectively.
|13th||Rob Austin||Alfa Romeo||+0.300|