BTCC standings leader seizes initiative with wonder-lap ahead of Round 13
Reigning champion Colin Turkington has claimed a 19th career pole position in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship after setting an impressive pace at a hot and humid Oulton Park earlier today.
The Team BMW star set a 1m25.825s lap time early on in the 30-minute session and it would be enough to take his ballast-laden 3 Series to top spot. The man himself labelled his effort a 'one-lap wonder' after admitting to grabbing slight tow from stablemate Andrew Jordan around the 2.23-mile circuit, but it was still a hugely impressive performance from the current standings leader.
Sam Tordoff was among a number of drivers to try and beat Turkington's benchmark, but the Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance man eventually fell short by just 0.089s after his first effort had been slightly compromised by traffic.
Halfords Yuasa Racing's Dan Cammish looked set to challenge too as he set the fastest overall first sector time in the closing stages, but his lap-time gradually ebbed away and the manufacturer driver had to settle for third at the finish. The Honda Civic Type R racer showed good form throughout Saturday, suggesting the Yorkshireman could be a serious contender tomorrow.
Andrew Jordan – the ultimate form man after his recent 'double double' at Thruxton and Croft – claimed fourth in the BMW Pirtek Racing 3 Series, ahead of Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance's Rory Butcher and Halfords Yuasa Racing's Matt Neal.
Team BMW's Tom Oliphant ensured that all three WSR cars are inside the top seven on the grid for tomorrow's opener as he pipped Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing's Jason Plato.
Team Toyota GB with Ginsters Tom Ingram and TradePriceCars.com's Jake Hill completed the top ten positions.
Ingram was one of several drivers to experience minor excursions across the grass whilst pushing at a maximum, as did the likes of Tordoff and Chris Smiley in the BTC Racing Honda.
Smiley's team-mate Josh Cook was a surprise omission from the top ten, as was Adrian Flux Subaru Racing's Ash Sutton. Cook and Sutton currently sit second and third in the overall standings but will start tomorrow's opening race from 22nd and 13th respectively – the latter gaining a net position due to a five-place grid penalty for Smiley, earned back at Croft.
Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Oulton Park tomorrow, bringing the curtain down on the first half of the 2019 season. A massive crowd is predicted to descend on the picturesque Cheshire track with many more watching the action LIVE on ITV4 from 11:15am.
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.”
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Oulton Park
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW 1m25.825s (93.37 mph)
2 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.027s
3 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.239s
4 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.286s
5 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.390s
6 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.417s
7 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.493s
8 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.566s
9 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +0.624s
10 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.659s
11 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +0.695s
12 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.717s
13 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.733s
14 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.756s
15 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.787s
16 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.903s
17 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.928s
18 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +1.042s
19 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +1.056s
20 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.057s
21 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +1.174s
22 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +1.232s
23 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +1.376s
24 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.383s
25 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase +1.451s
26 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +1.674s
27 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +1.932s
28 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.955s
29 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.972s
30 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing NO TIME