The KwikFit British Touring Car Championship has reached the business end of it's season, as it arrives at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.
In a key qualifying session for some drivers, it was the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra of Jason Plato who took pole position, after being on top of the times during all of the morning sessions. The double BTCC champion, who is still yet to have a win in 2019, dominated the afternoon qualifying session around the 1.64mile circuit to take the 51st pole of his career.
As the session went on, it was looking like an old guard front row as Matt Neal held second spot for quite some time, before the BTC Racing Honda of Chris Smiley catapulted himself up the timesheet to take the second spot on the front row alongside Plato with Neal having to settle for third spot, which still represents his best qualifying result of the year so far.
Matt Neal will be joined on the second row of the grid by Tom Ingram, who looked a threat all morning in the Toyota Corolla and will be looking to challenge up the front on race day.
Elsewhere down the field, the BMR Subaru of Ashley Sutton showed an up turn in form, by qualifying on the fourth row in 8th place. Just in front of him though, is where championship rivals will do battle, as championship leader Colin Turkington will line up 6th, with the in form man Dan Cammish just behind him in 7th. Other title protagonist's such as Rory Butcher and Andrew Jordan will start the first race from 12th and 14th respectively.
After clinching his 51st pole of his career, Jason Plato spoke to BTCC.net and had this to say: “I’m really pleased for everyone here. We’ve kept chipping away all year. I’ve made a couple of parking errors that have cost us a couple of good results I think. We knew it was going to come, we just had to keep motivated and keep at it. It’s great. I started to look at getting a tow early on but it was just ruining my vision. I did all my times this morning in clear air so I just thought ‘let’s get on with it’. Lining up on the grid is easy here because it’s a straight piece of Tarmac. I’ve had two uncompetitive years – that hurt. I knew I hadn’t forgotten how to drive a car. I just needed the right equipment. This Astra is a great little car and it’s nice to be back with Vauxhall – where I won my first title. We’ve got a lot of that team here and it’s working nicely.”
With a huge crowd expected and with the weather also expected to play a big part, another championship chapter is about to get underway.
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Silverstone
1 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing 57.430s 2 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +0.055s 3 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.059s 4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +0.092s 5 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.130s 6 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.138s 7 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.227s 8 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.247s 9 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.271s 10 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.275s 11 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.275s 12 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.283s 13 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.318s 14 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.335s 15 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.347s 16 Michael CAINE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.382s 17 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.406s 18 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.407s 19 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.419s 20 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct+0.476s 21 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +0.529s 22 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.541s 23 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.578s 24 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +0.597s 25 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +0.712s 26 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.762s 27 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.843s 28 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.933s 29 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.135s 30 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.529s