Tom Ingram takes his and Speedworks first ever pole

Ingram set his pole lap early on (Photo by Marc Waller)

Ingram set his pole lap early on (Photo by Marc Waller)Tom Ingram has taken pole position for the first round of the 2016 BTCC here at Brands Hatch. Ingram set his time relatively early in the session on his eighth lap and no one could beat it.

He was the only driver to dip under 48 seconds setting a 47.990, a new qualifying lap record.

The frantic session started dry but a couple of very brief drizzle showers during the session meant that a quick time early on became more important. Ingram’s pole position is not only his first but also the first for his team, Speedworks Motorsport.

The next two spots on the grid are taken up by the two leading Halfords Yuasa Hondas. Shedden just edging out Neal for the front row spot. Alongside Neal is Sam Tordoff, who impressively set his best lap later in the session after the track should have been past it’s best. The Team JCT600 with GardX driver jumped up the order after his late lap.

Behind Tordoff came the MG Racing duo of Ashley Sutton and Josh Cook. Sutton had been ahead of Cook all day and remains in front after qualifying. They are fifth and sixth after both setting their best lap on their seventh attempt.

Wix Racing’s Adam Morgan was another late improver in his Mercedes A class taking seventh on his twenty fifth lap and nudging Jack Goff down to eighth.

Mat Jackson was the quickest of the Motorbase cars when it mattered most and took eighth. Team mate Jordan was down in fourteenth and even that lap was set later in the session.

Aron Smith was tenth for BKR on their debut. He used his experience of the VW CC to his advantage in the variable conditions. His tenth is even more impressive when you remember that the BKR team don’t have any of the improved RML built NGTC parts for 2016 and are using the older GPRM parts.

Jackson picked the right time to take his best position of the day (Photo by Marc Waller)Jeff smith suffered from penalties and traffic (Photo by Marc Waller)Moffat was another penalised driver (Photo by Marc Waller)Morgan was another late improver (Photo by Marc Waller)Colin Turkington narrowly missed out on a top ten for the Subaru Levorg’s debut but he will be pleased with that considering the car had barely even moved before the weekend. Team mate Plato is down in twenty third but it’s likely we’ll see him fighting through the field tomorrow, if he can stay out of trouble. Warren Scott and James Cole were twenty seventh and twenty ninth respectively.

Behind Turkington was Rob Collard in the other WSR run Team JCT600 with Gard X BMW. He’ll probably be disappointed with that considering both his team mates (Goff and Tordoff) are in the top ten.

Jeff Smith had a frustrating session after losing his fastest time due to track limits infringements. He then found himself repeatedly held up when he tried to go for a new time. Despite this, he is inside the top half of the field in thirteenth.

We’ve already mentioned Jordan in fourteenth and behind him comes Rob Austin in the Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis. He’ll have been hoping for more but he’s still adjusting to front wheel drive and a place in the front half of the field is positive.

The final driver in the front half of the field was Jeff Smith’s Eurotech team mate Martin Depper. He also appeared to suffer from traffic and made some improvements later in the session.

Aiden Moffat should have been higher in seventeenth but he was another to be penalised for track limits infringements.

Goff is a strong eighth (Photo by Marc Waller)Turkington just missed out on a top ten debut qualifying (Photo by Marc Waller)Tordoff was impressively fast later in the session (Photo by Marc Waller)Shedden was again the fastest Honda (Photo by Marc Waller)Ingram gets pole after impressing all day (Photo by Marc Waller)Kelvin Fletcher ended up last on the grid but just saying that doesn’t tell the whole story as he had a run in early in the session with Mark Howard and by the time he had recovered from that, the chance for a really fast time had gone. He is well used to close racing from his club racing history so he may well battle up the field in the race.

As always with Brands Hatch, the grid remains close with the top twenty three cars separated by just over a second.

Tickets are available on the gate at Brands Hatch tomorrow and we look set for an exciting start to the season. The forecast tomorrow is for dry weather with highs of 18 degrees so if you are undecided we’d recommend coming along but get here early to avoid the traffic and to take advantage of the free pit lane walkabout which starts at 9:10am.

If you can’t come down, it’s shown live in the UK on ITV4 as usual.

Full times from the session are available from TSL timing;

Keep an eye on our new Facebook page for a gallery of photos from today.  By Marc Waller

Written by