BTCC Knockhill Qualifying – Rob Austin claims maiden pole position


BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)WIX Racing’s Rob Austin has taken his career first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pole position at Scotland’s Knockhill Circuit.

Breaking the circuit’s lap record after putting in a time of 52.471 – Austin claimed the top spot over eBay Motors’ Colin Turkington by 0.047 seconds.

Andrew Jordan achieved third position in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, however having acquired a tally of three stewards reprimands this season, he will take a six place grid drop and will start ninth in tomorrow’s opening race.

Championship protagonists Gordon Shedden, Jason Plato and Matt Neal line up fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, with the trio unable to do anything in the remaining minutes to better Austin’s pole time.

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)There was a brief red flag period ten minutes into the session after the Volkswagen Passat of Warren Scott had gone into the barriers. Despite managing to get his rear-end damaged car back to pits for repairs, the session was stopped whilst the barriers at Scotsman corner were fixed. Despite his near miss, his last lap time was still good enough for a twentieth place come the end of the session.

Another incident after the re-start of the session saw Paul O’Neill – making his BTCC comeback for one race only with Team HARD. in replacement of Jack Goff – collide into the back of another HARD. driver, his team mate and debutant Kieran Gallagher. Gallagher was able to continue in the session – ending in twenty-fourth – whilst O’Neill had to pit with damage.

Another driver also making his tin top debut on track this weekend is Mike Bushell, who is driving the IP Tech Race Chevrolet Cruze in place of Andy Neate after running with them during a test session in the build-up to this weekend’s meeting. In his first qualifying session, Bushell ended in a respectable seventeenth place behind the Airwaves Racing Focus of Mat Jackson.

BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)BTCC action (photo by Marc Waller)With the top nineteen runners from qualifying all within 0.83 seconds of each other, tomorrow’s tight-knit field will battle it out during the first race of the day at 11:45, where pole sitter Rob Austin will be able to capitalise on his performance to take his first victory.

Engine issues for another Knockhill debutant in the name of 16-year-old Aiden Moffatt meant he had to sit out of his first qualifying session, whilst Austin’s WIX Racing team mate Will Bratt will start race one from the back of the pack after twice failing the ride height check during the thirty minute session – resulting in the loss of his lap times.
Qualifying Classification;

1) Rob Austin
2) Colin Turkington
3) Gordon Shedden
4) Jason Plato
5) Matt Neal
6) Adam Morgan
7) Frank Wrathall
8) Sam Tordoff
9) Andrew Jordan
10) Dan Welch
11) Aron Smith
12) Rob Collard
13) Tom Onslow-Cole
14) Dave Newsham
15) Nick Foster
16) Mat Jackson
17) Mike Bushell
18) Paul O’Neill
19) Ollie Jackson
20) Warren Scott
21) Liam Griffin
22) Lea Wood
23) David Nye
24) Kieran Gallagher
25) Will Bratt   By Nikki Thompson photos By Marc Waller

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