The KwikFit British Touring Car Championship rolled into the sun baked Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire for rounds 13,14 and 15 of the championship.
Reigning champion Colin Turkington claimed a 19th career pole position after setting and impressive pace in qualifying. Even with the full championship ballast on board, Turkington managed a 1.25.825 which was an impressive feat.
The BMW man will have the AMD Honda Civic of Sam Tordoff alongside him for race one, Tordoff putting in a time just 0.027 shy off the Northern Irishman. Sam Tordoff will be hoping for a bigger slice of luck than in recent weeks where his race day just hasn't gone to plan in the past.
Just behind on the second row of the grid is the Yuasa Honda Civic of Dan Cammish, who will be a threat on race day and will be looking to rustle a few feathers of the BMW's at the front.
The BTCC in form man Andrew Jordan will line up fourth, alongside Cammish, with team mate Tom Oliphant in seventh spot which backs up the pace of the BMW around this type of circuit.
Matt Neal in the second of the Yuasa Honda's lines up in sixth with Rory Butcher just in front in fifth, meaning we will have a BMW/Honda face off up at the front.
Towards the end of the top ten order, Jason Plato continues to get the best out of the improving Vauxhall Astra for Power Maxed Racing and will start the first of the three races for the afternoon in eighth spot. The flying youngsters of Tom Ingram and Jake Hill round out the top ten order.
Speaking to BTCC.net, here's what the top three had to say about qualifying:
Colin Turkington said: “That was a special lap, I’ve been working on it all day. We’ve been slowly making the car better. It’s tough when you start with a heavy car as you’ve got to adjust your expectations. We got a bit of a tow off Andy (Jordan) and I couldn’t get close again. It was a bit of a one-lap wonder! Dick (Bennetts) fancied top six and I’d have been happy with top ten. We’ve not been at the sharp end all morning but the new tyres make all the difference and the 3 Series felt great. Fifteen or 16 laps with the hunting pack behind me it’s going to be tough – a big feed of spinach coming tonight! I’ll just try to enjoy this moment. Poles don’t come along too often. I’m pleased for Team BMW, it’s been a big effort.”
Sam Tordoff said: “I think the heat played its part. The track was definitely fastest at the beginning and I was compromised at the start. We’re only talking hundredths of a second. The boys can be happy with that. I think we’ve got a good chance. Oulton Park is a tough circuit and it’s one you’ve really got to qualify well at. I should be alright to tuck in behind Colin (Turkington) and get my head down. I like this track, it’s one of my favourites – just not so pleasant on a day like today! I’ll go and have a cold bath and cool down.”
Dan Cammish said: “To be honest, I think P3 was all we had today – neither myself nor the car had the time in us to get onto the front row. There was probably another tenth there to be found, but no more. Still, we’re up at the sharp end of the grid, so hopefully we can do something from there. I fully expect Colin (Turkington) to run and hide in the race, with the rest of us fighting over second. I’ve been clawing points back in the championship ever since Thruxton and that’s what we need to keep doing, so if I can climb onto the podium at the end of the race, I will consider that a job well done.”
With a packed crowd yet again set to descend on the Cheshire circuit and the weather set to be scorching hot, we are in for an absolute epic at Oulton Park.