Team Toyota GB with Ginsters’ Tom Ingram claimed an incredible Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship pole position after producing a sensational lap at Snetterton.
Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish had already dipped well under the qualifying lap record, before Ingram pipped the factory Honda driver’s effort by just 0.002s. The Snetterton 300 layout is the longest on the BTCC calendar at 2.97-miles, making the margin between the top two all the more astonishing.
Cammish had topped both earlier practice sessions and seemingly looked in control of qualifying in the early stages, but Ingram’s stunning 1:54.737s lap time proved decisive in grabbing a first pole position for the all-new Toyota Corolla.
While Ingram and Cammish proved to be the class of the field, it was Sam Tordoff who claimed best-of-the-rest honours in the Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Honda.
Tom Chilton – pace-setter in the recent two-day test at the Norfolk circuit – claimed fourth in the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS, ahead of championship leader Colin Turkington. Team BMW’s Turkington still produced a mightily impressive effort and he’ll be happy to be lining up on the third row in his success ballast-laden 3 Series.
Jason Plato had to settle for sixth after admitting he had extracted the maximum potential from his Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra during the earlier practice session, where he had trailed Cammish’s morning benchmark by a less than two tenths-of-a-second.
Andrew Jordan has won five times already this season and the BMW Pirtek Racing star will look to claim top spot again tomorrow from seventh on the grid. Jordan is currently Turkington’s closest challenger in the overall standings and he lines up directly behind his BMW stablemate in the opening contest.
Matt Neal was seven tenths off his Honda team-mate but it was good enough for eighth, whilst Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan and Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing’s Rob Collard were next in the order. Morgan made a welcome return to form during the recent test and ninth today proved to be his best qualifying result of the season, whilst Collard ensured both Vauxhall Astras were inside the top ten.
A number of title contenders endured a challenging afternoon with Rory Butcher (11th), Ash Sutton (18th) and Josh Cook (19th) all failing to trouble the leading lap times.
Rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Snetterton tomorrow with tens of thousands of fans expected at the Norfolk track, whilst ITV4 has everybody else covered with live coverage commencing at 10:45 and running through until the end of the day at 18:15.
A further layer of intrigue and excitement has been added to tomorrow's triple header with the inclusion of all three Dunlop Sport Maxx tyre compounds. For the first time in BTCC history, each one must be run on race-day.
Tom Ingram said: “It’s fantastic and I’m so pleased. We’ve been quietly going about trying to understand everything about the car just nibbling away. We’ve found some amazing things at the tyre test and ticked a lot of things off that we wanted to try. Everyone will have made a step, and we’ve gone another step further still. A heck of a lot of work has gone in behind the scenes. It’s great to get the Corolla’s first pole and the first on Team Toyota GB’s BTCC return. It’s always close here and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll sleep tonight as I’ve got that monkey off my back!"
Dan Cammish said: “Two thousandths of a second is nothing but there wasn’t any more I could do. For Tom (Ingram) to jump one better is fair play. I’ve got nothing to feel bad about – the car feels great and I did my maximum. The season got off to a bad start, I made mistakes, but since Thruxton we’ve been strong, scoring podiums and outscoring those around us. Tomorrow’s another chance to do that. It’ll be different with the tyre choices this weekend. It depends a lot on where you qualify. Race three is a bit of a lottery and you’ve got to take points out of races one and two.”
Sam Tordoff said: "I'm really happy with the lap time and what we put together there. I was disappointed we were only third there. I would have taken a 1m55.000s all day long so to break into the 54's is really pleasing. The lap time was in the car and it was just a case of extracting it. I struggled to go any quicker after my first run. In some ways, third is a better place to start than second here with the line into turn one. We need to keep our championship momentum going. There's the tyre unknowns and I'm not sure what we'll do but you want the least risky option to consolidate a good starting position."
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Snetterton
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters 1m54.737s (93.15mph)
2 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.002s
3 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.286s
4 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.447s
5 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.593s
6 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.626s
7 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.631s
8 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.706s
9 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.926s
10 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.975s
11 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.986s
12 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.989s
13 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +0.990s
14 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +1.003s
15 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.092s
16 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +1.121s
17 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +1.223s
18 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.249s
19 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +1.253s
20 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +1.253s
21 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +1.793s
22 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase +1.920s
23 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.949s
24 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +2.379s
25 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +2.477s
26 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +2.611s
27 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.663s
28 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +3.075s
29 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +3.408s
30 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing NO TIME