Updated: Jun 10, 2018
Mat Simpson will start the first of tomorrow’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car races from pole position, after blitzing the rest of the field in todays qualifying session.
Speaking to BTCC.net, Simpson said: “I cant believe it, I’ve been waiting for that as long as I’ve been watching touring cars. I knew we could do it after that time in free practise 2 but the pressure was on there.”
The Simpson Racing driver had initially set a benchmark time of 1:25:7 around the picturesque 2.23 mile Cheshire circuit which eventually go untouched throughout the entire 30 minute session. Just behind Simpson, were the Motorbase Performance pair of Sam Tordoff and Tom Chilton and Andrew Jordan just behind them in fourth place at sessions end. The top five was rounded up by the Honda Civic Type R of Matt Neal.
The pace of the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus RS was confirmed when James Cole set the 8th fastest time, meaning that all three Ford’s will be at the sharp end of the grid and ready for battle on Sunday.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington and Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant rounded out the top ten positions, with the latter producing his best laps in the final minutes of the session. In terms of the championship protagonists, Adam Morgan could only manage 19th on the grid and Josh Cook and Tom Ingram will start the first encounter from 20th and 17th respectively, so all eyes will be on these three to see how much progress they can make during the first race. As we’ve come to expect in the BTCC recently, the top 24 cars were separated by less than a second at the end of qualifying.
A huge crowd is expected to descend on Outlon Park tomorrow, with many more watching at home on ITV4. This circuit always throws up exciting races and judging by the grid, it will be no exception tomorrow.
Words: Matt Gough
Pic: Eric Barnes Photography