This may not sound like much but in the incredibly close 2017 BTCC grids, cars are usually separated by thousandths of a second. Goff, who stopped before the session even finished thought he could go even quicker than his pole time of 1:55.786
“It’s always a bit worrying when you get out of the car before the session ends!” said Goff. “It’s my first pole and it’s all down to these Eurotech guys. They’ve put the work in and the Honda Civic Type R was just fantastic out there. The car didn’t feel a thing like it did this morning. We knew we had some sort of problem in the car holding us back and we found the issue, which helped us. I think there was even a 1m55.5s in there somewhere, I could have gone even faster on that lap.
“It’s looking good, but we’ve got two rear-wheel drive cars directly behind and alongside us, so we’ll have to see what we can do at the start tomorrow. We’ve worked hard through the summer break and during the mid-season test and we’ve found a lot of things that were really good for the car and some ideas we had to chuck in the bin. We’ve been finding little bits and those bits add up. We’ve had a few bad rounds – Oulton and obviously Croft – with just a point from the last two weekends, so to come back here with a bang is perfect.”
Colin Turkington’s BMW was the best of the rest, just edging out the Subaru Levorg of Ashley Sutton in the closing stages. Turkington had been slower in practice and was pleased to get back to the front for qualifying
“It was a surprise to me this morning to be where we were, as the BMW always goes well around here. We hadn’t looked fast in practice, so it’s nice to flip it around in qualifying with the improvements we made from free practice. The guys gave me a great car when it mattered and I’ll take second place all day with the third heaviest car out there [in terms of success ballast].”
Sutton’s lap had also been a last minute effort when his earlier attempts were lost due to track limits infringments.
“We did a quick time but that was taken from under us, and we knew why.” explained Sutton. “I knew we had one last shot and we managed to do it at the last and go quicker than we had before. We’re still working on setup but it’s the closest we’ve come to finding the sweet spot. To be honest, the Hondas’ performance here last year showed how strong front-wheel drive is around here. We know how tough Snetterton is on rear-wheel drive cars, in terms of tyre management, so we’ll just have to see how we go.”
Fourth placed Matt Neal originally had his quickest lap time removed when his car failed a ride height test during the session. Following an after session appeal to the Stewards by Halfords Yuasa Racing, the original decision was overturned and triple champion Neal will now take his spot on the second row. Unusually the penalty was removed due to a procedural error when a non-official had helped with the checks. The rules state that all checks must carried out by recognised officials and so it meant the ride height check was invalid. This meant the penalty could not be applied.
Tom Ingram had been a front runner all day in his Speedworks Toyota Avensis and his practice time in the first session had been the fastest of the day befoe qualifying. He said he was slightly frustrated that he hadn’t been able to challenge for pole. Adam Morgan’s Mercedes was next up just ahead of Rob Austinin the Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis. Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard were both in the top ten in eighth and tenth respectively. The one missing regular front runner was championship leader Gordon Shedden. His car seemed to be particularly badly hit by carrying success ballast and ended up down in twenty first. Jason Plato made it in to the top ten in his Subaru and will have hoped to have turned a corner with the problems that have dogged his season since Brands Hatch.
Brett Smith had his first ever qualifying session as he stands in for his injured dad Jeff, (hurt in the big Croft qualifying crash.) He took twenty third. Aron Taylor-Smith is the only one of the three driver hospitalised at Croft to be back in the car at Snetterton. He managed twenty fifth with team mate Josh Cook in twentieth.
Stewart Lines is now driving the Maximum Motorsport Focus vacated by Cook for the rest of the season after Dennis Strandberg, who drove at Croft, was unable to continue.
Motorbase are only running two cars at Snetterton as they were unable to get a new car built in time to replace the car of Luke Davenport. Lines is thirty first on the grid.
We look set for three more exciting races at Snetterton and with tickets available on the gate, it should be well worth coming down on what is due to be a dry Sunday.
If you can’t make it, Itv4 are showing the entire day with coverage from 10:45am.
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Snetterton
1 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing 1m55.786s (92.30 mph)
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.460s
3 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.589s
4 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.829s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.877s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.900s
7 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +1.004s
8 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +1.078s
9 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.238s
10 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +1.239s
11 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +1.271s
12 Michael EPPS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1.281s
13 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +1.354s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.385s
15 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +1.405s
16 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +1.476s
17 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +1.489s
18 Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.277s
19 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +1.582s
20 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +1.635s
21 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +1.657s
22 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +1.663s
23 Brett SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +1.676s
24 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.804s
25 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +1.875s
26 James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.921s
27 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +1.932s
28 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +2.525s
29 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +2.620s
30 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +3.019s
31 Stewart LINES (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +4.965s By Marc Waller