Andrew Jordan has taken pole position ahead of tomorrow’s opening race at Brands Hatch for the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season. This first qualifying session of the year is the first and only session in which cars have no championship ballast on board.
A light snow sprinkling coupled with cold temperatures resulted in a damp track for the start of the session, which saw a lot of drivers up and down the field spinning as their cold tyres hit the asphalt.
The first red flag of the season appeared two minutes into the session, as returning champion Colin Turkington span his eBay Motors BMW at the exit of Druids. With nowhere else to go, BTCC debutant Jack Goff in the RCIB Insurance Racing Insignia collected Turkington on his arrival to the corner. Both had significant damage to their respective cars and despite Colin being able to limp the BMW back to the pits, neither of them would be returning to the session.
Liam Griffin and David Nye were also span as they avoided the incident, but both were able to return to their pit garages and re-start the session.
Fast times were slow in making an appearance, but during the session, the time sheets were topped by Onslow-Cole, Collard, Austin, Shedden and Plato as cars were acclimatising themselves to the track conditions.
Dan Welch had an issue with his Welch Motorsport Proton midway through the session, resulting in him slowing on track before returning to the garage for a check-up.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock, snow was making an appearance at the circuit, making conditions out on track slippery. Pirtek’s Andrew Jordan topped the times, and with the snow continuing to fall, no further improvements were being made.
Despite the wintry setting, cars were still on track, albeit with the likes of Dave Newsham’s Speedworks’ Toyota and the BMW of Nick Foster taking a trip across the grass at Druids and Graham Hill Bend.
With only minutes to spare, Frank Wrathall’s Dynojet Toyota failed the ride height check, meaning that his previous lap times worthy of a top six position were disallowed.
Frank re-joined the track to set a time, but aborted the lap knowing he wouldn’t be able to improve in the conditions, making him one to watch in tomorrow’s first race.
Dan Welch also made a re-appearance to the circuit in the final few minutes, but also aborted a lap despite being out on wet tyres.
Andrew Jordan took the fastest time of 48.387 seconds to claim pole position ahead of Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden and the MG of Jason Plato. Honda team mate Matt Neal will start fourth with Sam Tordoff – in his first full BTCC season – taking an impressive fifth in the second KX Momentum MG. Lea Wood will lead the S2000 runners, qualifying in sixteenth place behind Wix Racing’s Will Bratt.
With the cold temperatures set to continue tomorrow, the first race will make for interesting viewing, with drivers further down the order looking to make up places in the opening laps.
The action starts on ITV4 at 10:45 and runs through until 6pm, with coverage including the support races throughout the day. Approximate BTCC race times are as follows;
Race One: 11:47
Race Two: 14:17
Race Three: 17:05
I’ll have race reports throughout the day on www.girlracer.co.uk, alongside commentary on Twitter @nikki_btcc
Qualifying Top Ten:
1. Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing)
2. Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing)
3. Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum)
4. Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing)
5. Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum)
6. Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport)
7. Rob Austin (Wix Racing)
8. Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing)
9. Nick Foster (eBay Motors)
10. Adam Morgan (Cicely Racing) By Nikki Thompson