Of the championship rivals it was Gordon Shedden that came out on top with fourth on the grid despite carrying maximum success ballast.
Most of the best lap times were set late in the session with Jackson claiming pole on his thirteenth lap out of sixteen. After being slower than his team mates all day, BMR’s Aron Smith produced the goods when it mattered most to take second on the grid just over a tenth behind Jackson. Adam Morgan was back at the top end with third in his Wix Racing Mercedes A Class.
Then Shedden’s ballast laden works Honda in fourth with his Team BMR championship rivals Turkington and Plato in fifth and sixth behind. Plato will be disappointed after being the highest championship contender in both of the practice sessions earlier.
Tom Ingram continued his recent front running pace with seventh on the grid beating Matt Neal’s works Honda despite losing his best time for track limit’s infringements. Neal’s championship hopes are all but over with eighth but it’s likely he had already accepted it wasn’t going his way and will help team mate Shedden to try and claim it for the team.
Andy Priaulx was again the best of the WSR BMW’s taking eighth but was another driver to lose a time for track limits infringements.
Josh Cook seems to be getting on top of the new 2016 spec parts he is testing for RML and he took tenth on the grid beating his team mate Dave Newsham for the first time today. Newsham was twelfth and splitting them was the works MG of Jack Goff. Goff had set his best time on lap five before nudging the barriers at Stirlings when he spun. He continued after his off but was never as quick again. His team mate, Andrew Jordan was the last of the championship contenders on the grid in thirteenth. His title hopes were slim before but have now almost completely gone. It’d take a very bad day for his rivals and an incredible drive for him to take the title.
Completeting the top fifteen was Alain Menu but with the entire top seventeen separated by just under a second the field is very close.
Other drivers receiving track limits penalties were Aidan Moffat (22nd), Rob Austin (25th), Tony Gillham (26th) and Stewart Lines (29th) Lines also had a narrow escape between Sheene and Stirlings when he ran wide at high speed. Mike Bushell was another driver to go off there and narrowly missed being collected by one of the Rob Austin Racing Audis.
So the battle tomorrow although mathematically between the five drivers now looks set to be fought out between the top three. Shedden has the advantage both in terms of points lead and grid position. But one mistake could had the advantage to one of his team BMR rivals with Turkington and Plato close behind. Both the BMR drivers need to take care not to run in to each other. A clash between the two could hand the title straight to Shedden.
Whatever happens it’s sure to be exciting and with the weather forecast to be dry all day, it’ll be a great day to watch at Brands Hatch as the championship is settled. Tickets are available at the gate and the first BTCC race gets underway at just after half eleven.
If you can’t make it, ITV4 will be showing all the BTCC races live as usual with plenty of support race action inbetween. By tomorrow evening we will have crowned the BTCC champion for 2015.
Full results for qualifying are on TSL timing By Marc Waller