BTCC Croft Qualifying: Turkington takes pole

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)Colin Turkington has taken his first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position on his return to the series at Croft Circuit.

The session was interrupted by a lengthy red flag period with four minutes of the session remaining after a heavy shunt from returning driver Joe Girling in the M247 Racing Chevrolet Cruze.

Qualifying got off to a dramatic start with Shedden lucky not to ruin his chances after a slide at Sunny before hitting the barrier head on at the final complex, before backing up and heading to the pits.

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)The Scot did re-join the session after a stint in the pit lane to set a time good enough for third on his first flying lap.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Dave Newsham came out on track after a delayed start due to power steering gremlins, to jump from twenty-eighth to seventh on his first competitive lap time.

Andrew Jordan set the fastest time early on in the session, before being pushed back by Honda Racing’s Matt Neal before MG KX Momentum’s Jason Plato, who put down a 1:24:613 – seventeen thousandths of a second ahead.

Having just set his best lap of the session, Joe Girling’s Cruze ended up in the tyre wall coming out of the final complex, ending his session. The car sustained major damage in the shunt, however Girling was unharmed.

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)The majority of drivers remained in their cars waiting for confirmation of a possible re-start, which came at 15:58. Drivers poured onto the track to start an out lap before attempting to improve on their earlier times.

Despite looking quick, Shedden was unable to improve his time, whilst Matt Neal remained in the pits. Dave Newsham improved after he was pushed down the order to finish in thirteenth whilst in a last ditch attempt across the line, Colin Turkington finished a tenth quicker than anyone else on track to take a pole time of 1:24:465 – a qualifying lap record at Croft.

The rear-wheeled drive cars were the ultimate winners on that lap, with all three eBay Motors BMW’s improving, whilst the Ford Focus of Mat Jackson, who had gotten up to seventh despite a missing front wing early on, had to settle for eleventh.

Team HARD. worked solidly throughout the morning to get James Cole out for qualifying after his engine change, however only managed to complete a handful of laps after a late start.

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)Lea Wood ended the session in pole position for the Jack Sears Trophy, followed by Jake Hill in his first BTCC qualifying session with Addison Lee Motorbase.
With rain forecast, Croft could set the scene for an exciting day of racing in the championship. The first race is set to start just after 12pm – with full coverage being provided at and Twitter: @nikki_btcc

Qualifying Classification:
1. Colin Turkington (eBay Motors)
2. Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing)
3. Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing)
4. Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing)
5. Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing)
6. Rob Collard (eBay Motors)
7. Frank Wrathall (Dynojet)
8. Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum)
9. Tom Onslow-Cole ( Racing)
10. Adam Morgan (Cicely Racing)
11. Mat Jackson (Airwaves Racing)
12. Nick Foster (eBay Motors)
13. Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport)
14. Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing)
15. Michael Caine (Addison Lee Motorbase)
16. Aron Smith (Airwaves Racing)
17. Jack Goff (RCIB Insurance Racing)
18. Rob Austin (Rob Austin Racing)
19. Will Bratt (Rob Austin Racing)
20. Ollie Jackson (Speedworks Motorsport)
21. Dan Welch (Welch Motorsport with Sopp & Sopp)
22. Lea Wood (Wheel Heaven/Houseman Racing) JS
23. Jake Hill (Addison Lee Motorbase) JS
24. David Nye (Welch Motorsport with Sopp & Sopp) JS
25. James Cole (RCIB Insurance Racing)
26. Joe Girling (M247 Racing with Tech-Speed Motorsport) JS
27. James Kaye (AmD JS
28. Warren Scott (Team BMW Restart) JS   By Nikki Thompson

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