After the final qualifying session of the year for the KwikFit British Touring Car Championship, it was advantage Colin Turkington as he took pole position for the first of three races around the Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent.
The wet conditions played a part in the hectic qualifying session, which was halted on numerous occasions thanks to some off track excursions. Out of all of the championship contenders, Turkington was the only one to not have a moment, as Jordan, Cammish, Cook and Ingram all had moments of their own during the 30 minute session.
The BMW got faster and faster during the session and when the track was at it's best, Turkington struck with a time of 1:40.752. Lining up alongside the BMW will be Ashley Sutton in the BMR Subaru Levorg, with a time that would be 0.316s shy of the pole time. Despite an off track incident late on, Andrew Jordan put in the third best time of the session, and crucially, making sure he was within striking distance of title rival Turkington.
BMW confirmed their good pace with Tom Oliphant putting in the fourth best time of the session with Rory Butcher in the AMD Honda just behind him and rounding out the top five. The final places inside the top ten were filled by Jake Hill, Chris Smiley, Josh Cook, Mike Bushell and Aiden Moffat, who continues to impress in the Infiniti.
After an interesting qualifying session, here's what the title challengers had to say about Sunday's races:
Colin Turkington said: “Those little bonus points can really add up. I’m super happy to be on pole and I wasn’t expecting it. We’ve been working away all day but it’s been a lottery with the weather. We rolled the dice but I knew from very early on in the session it was fast. It worked in my favour and I’m just happy to have survived that one. I was cautious not to try too hard at the end in tricky conditions as it seemed to get worse out there. If it had been full dry, it would have been more difficult for me with the ballast on. In-between is difficult for rear-wheel drive cars so it being full-wet was a plus. This sets things up for what will be a huge day tomorrow.”
Dan Cammish said: “I was really struggling in that one. The car was really strong in FP1 and FP2 in the damp but this was full wet and early on it felt a bit like I was driving on ice at times. I couldn’t steer and it wanted to swap on me every time I turned in. If anyone’s ever put tea trays under their rear tyres and given it a bit of a blast, that’s what it felt like! We cracked the setup late on but got caught in traffic which is frustrating. We should have been a lot higher than that. We weren’t realistically beating BMW today. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ll get my head down and come out fighting tomorrow.”
Andrew Jordan said: “I screwed up is what happened. I was pushing a little bit too much and locked the fronts. In those conditions, there’s no room for error but luckily we’d done two times already, so I’m still third. I knew it’d still stand even after my best time was taken away. The car was much more on a knife-edge in qualifying than in practice. I didn’t feel like I was able to challenge Colin (Turkington) as a result, so we’ll sit down and look at setups tonight.”
Josh Cook said: “It was a bit hit and miss. It rained throughout but it was changeable so you’d arrive at a corner the next lap and it’d be completely different. We got a time in early, but the conditions deteriorated and after the red flag everyone was battling hard to get a lap time in. P8 isn’t too bad. I’ve got Chris (Smiley) just ahead, Turkington on pole, Jordan P3 and we are where we are. I’ll get my head down tomorrow. It wasn’t a clean qualifying session and we needed a bit of a favour from Lady Luck but it didn’t happen. We’re not in a bad place.”
Tom Ingram said: “There’s not too much I want to talk about from that session really and it wasn’t representative of where we were in FP1 and FP2. The added rain affected the track more than we expected and we were a lot further away than we’d hoped. It’s still early days for our Corolla in the wet. We’ll come back fighting tomorrow. I was never realistically looking at us being in contention and it’s been nice to be involved. You want to win it but really we weren’t going to this weekend. We’ll be in a good place tomorrow in any case. It’s been such a positive year for the new car in its first season; being in mathematical contention into the final weekend is way more than we could have expected and we can look back with a lot of pride all-in.”
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Brands Hatch GP
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW 1m40.752s (86.94mph) 2 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.316s 3 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.768s 4 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.874s 5 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.885s 6 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +1.161s 7 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +1.332s 8 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +1.399s 9 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +1.405s 10 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.414s 11 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +1.417s 12 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +1.463s 13 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +1.488s 14 Michael CAINE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +1.653s 15 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.675s 16 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +1.692s 17 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +1.730s 18 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct+1.903s 19 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +2.082s 20 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +2.275s 21 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +2.607s 22 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +2.614s 23 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +2.875s 24 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.994s 25 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +3.029s 26 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +3.215s 27 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +3.275s 28 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +3.822s 29 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +4.764s 30 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +6.794s