Image: Andrew Jordan came out on top in qualifying at Croft Below top: It was an incident-packed session, and Rory Butcher's car came off worst – leaving the joint-standings leader starting race one from the back
Andrew Jordan claimed pole position in one of the most disjointed qualifying sessions in the history of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Croft.
A fifth red flag stoppage eventually ended the session prematurely and it was an off for Jordan that ironically brought a close to proceedings. The new-for-2019 qualifying rule states that a driver causing a red flag in qualifying will lose their fastest lap time up to that point and take no further part in the session, which could have put paid to a first pole position since 2014 for Jordan.
Concern quickly turned to relief and joy for the 30-year-old however, when it was realised that his second fastest lap time was still good enough for P1.
The first three red flags came about as a number of cars made contact with safety barriers lining the circuit, which then needed to either be returned to their position or replaced. Nic Hamilton was among those casualties, with damage to the front-right of his Ford Focus forcing him out of the action.
The penultimate stoppage was the most dramatic. Joint championship leader Rory Butcher lost control on the exit of the chicane, and his Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Honda fired across the track and into the barrier. A lengthy delay followed in order to remove Butcher’s stricken Civic Type R as the rest of the pack waited for a final flourish around the newly resurfaced 2.13-miles of Tarmac.
Light drizzle added to the tension but when Jake Hill and Chris Smiley improved on their previous lap times it looked as if we could be building to an exciting climax.
A puncture for Jordan, however, eventually sent the BMW Pirtek Racing 3 Series out of control at slow speed on the run to the Complex. Jordan’s car slid gingerly off-track and eventually came to rest on the grass, leading to a fifth and final red flag halt.
The decision was made to the wave the chequered flag shortly afterwards, with the final classification confirming that Jordan had claimed his first pole position for BMW and West Surrey Racing.
BTC Racing’s Smiley was one of the more fortunate drivers to get a late flying lap completed and the talented Northern Irishman did enough to take second ahead of Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Tom Chilton.
Team BMW duo Colin Turkington and Tom Oliphant were fourth and fifth respectively, with four-time Croft race winner Ash Sutton next up in sixth place. Despite the lack of running on-track during the session, the likes of both Turkington and Sutton will be pleased to have at least set a representative lap time and taken up berths at the sharp end of the field in the process.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish was next on the timesheets, ahead of Ollie Jackson (Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher) and Jake Hill (TradePriceCars.com). Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato completed the top ten, continuing his run of solid qualifying results so far in 2019.
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Croft tomorrow (16th June) with all the action being screened live on ITV4 from 11:15.
Andrew Jordan said: “I was sat stuck in the mud thinking we’d have everything taken from us but we had a puncture. I was going so steady and when it started to drizzle I just had nothing heading into the Complex. I did it when it counted and luckily our second best time was good enough for pole. 2014 must have been the last time I had the pole. There were lots of red flags, I can’t remember as many in a session and I caused one but it was good for me. It’s a first pole with West Surrey Racing and it’s a top result for BMW Pirtek Racing, too. I’ve had three wins, which is a lot. I want to win the race, of course, but we’re in a good position. I want to take points out of Colin (Turkington) and we’re in a good position to do so.”
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Croft Circuit
1 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing 1m21.734s (93.59 mph)
2 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +0.148s
3 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.155s
4 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.244s
5 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.338s
6 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.367s
7 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.386s
8 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.404s
9 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.441s
10 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.451s
11 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.756s
12 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.813s
13 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.862s
14 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +0.869s
15 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +0.887s
16 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +1.317s
17 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.349s
18 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +1.453s
19 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.462s
20 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +1.789s
21 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +1.888s
22 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +2.111s
23 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.147s
24 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +2.189s
25 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.341s
26 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +5.843s
27 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +9.080s
28 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport NO TIME
29 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance NO TIME
30 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase NO TIME