Halfords Racing with Cataclean star Gordon Shedden produced a stunning lap to take pole position during the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship ‘Top Ten Showdown’ at Snetterton earlier today (12 June).
The Honda Civic Type R driver looked to have lost out to Team BMW’s Colin Turkington as the four-time champion completed pace-setting lap after pace-setting lap, but Shedden took the spoils after delivering one final fastest fling around the 2.97-mile circuit.
Turkington had to settle for second, ahead of a ‘slightly disappointed’ Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com’s Tom Ingram, who had previously set the benchmark lap time during practice. It was, however, a best ever qualifying position for his EXCELR8 Motorsport squad, so the Hyundai driver can be confident of fighting for honours tomorrow afternoon.
Qualifying for Round 4 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship saw the return of the ‘Top Ten Showdown’ format, which was first trialled at Snetterton last season.
With a marginally reduced window to record their lap times, the top ten fastest competitors at the end of the 25-minute session, were rewarded with the opportunity to clinch their final position on the grid during a ten-minute pole position showdown.
Rory Butcher was one top driver who looked to be missing out after the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK driver had his best lap time removed for a track limits infringement, and was languishing down in 28th on the time sheets with just minutes remaining. The Toyota Corolla driver bounced back late on, however, to force himself into the showdown before claiming an encouraging fourth overall at the finish.
Ingram and Butcher lining up together on the second row of the grid will spark memories of their clash in last year’s final encounter around the Snetterton 300 layout, and both young chargers will be hoping for a more positive outcome tomorrow.
Team BMW had all three of its drivers in the top ten with Stephen Jelley and Tom Oliphant ending up fifth and tenth respectively, whilst Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan claimed sixth in his new BMW 3 Series.
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square will occupy row four for tomorrow’s opener with Ollie Jackson pipping his championship leading team-mate Jake Hill, the latter performing well in his ballast-laden Ford Focus.
Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing’s Daniel Lloyd can be pleased to have made the showdown segment as the Yorkshireman claimed ninth in his Vauxhall Astra.
The initial 25-minute qualifying run wasn’t without its fair share of drama as both Ash Sutton (Laser Tools Racing) and Jason Plato (Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing) failed to progress into the ‘Top Ten Showdown’, and will line-up 16th and 19th on the grid respectively.
Notable qualifying positions outside of the top ten included Jess Hawkins in 18th – as she impressively pipped BTCC legend Plato in her Racing with Wera and Photon Group Ford Focus.
Gordon Shedden said: “We saved tyres during FP2 to give us the best chance in qualifying and wow it’s paid off fantastically, pole position, the sun’s shining so I’m absolutely delighted. It was a last lap job for me, I think Colin [Turkington] was on pole before that and I managed to find a good quarter of a second in that last lap. Fantastic rewards for everyone, an awesome day! It’s great to start from pole position tomorrow and I’m comfortable with the car that I’ve got. Fingers crossed we can have a slightly less eventful day than we did at Thruxton five weeks ago and score plenty of points.”
Colin Turkington said: “I’m still really happy with P2. FP1 and FP2 was tricky this morning, so all credit to Team BMW for turning the car around and giving me pace. We’ve got the car where we want it and I think it will be a good race car, this morning I would have said no, but after qualifying I’m a lot more confident. I think it’ll be 24 or 25 degrees tomorrow – I like the heat and so does our car – that is the strength of the BMW. Two wins last year here was pretty special, my goal for tomorrow is to try and stand on the podium. It’ll be great if we can win, but you’ve got to have realistic expectations with Gordon [Shedden] on pole. He’s in the box seat but I’ll do what I can.”
Tom Ingram said: “It’s a really really good result. I’m slightly disappointed with third because I wanted to be on pole, but fair play to these boys [Shedden and Turkington], they’ve done a top job. I think we’ve got a bit more to extract as I made a bit of a mistake going into the first hairpin, which probably cost me a little bit of time so is it perfect? No, not by any means. I think we can generally be pleased with it though, third is the right side of the grid, it’s going to be an entertaining first lap, but we’ve got good lads around us so it will all be fine.”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Top Ten Showdown – Snetterton
1 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean 1:55.208s
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.163s
3 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.492s
4 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.804s
5 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.822s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.948s
7 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +1.054s
8 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +1.195s
9 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +1.284s
10 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +1.618s
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Snetterton
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW 1:55.294s
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.291s
3 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.326s
4 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.416s
5 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.611s
6 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.662s
7 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.782s
8 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.837s
9 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.846s
10 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.861s
11 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.949s
12 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1.166s
13 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +1.249s
14 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +1.298s
15 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +1.425s
16 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.425s
17 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +1.515s
18 Jessica Hawkins (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +1.566s
19 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +1.654s
20 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +1.692s
21 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.739s
22 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) BTC Racing +1.784s
23 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.804s
24 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +2.207s
25 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +2.553s
26 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +2.926s
27 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +3.025s
28 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +3.164s