Honda machinery dominates BTCC qualifying at Brands Hatch
Senna Proctor snatched pole position from team-mate Josh Cook, as BTC Racing secured a front-row lockout in the final qualifying session of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch today (23 October).
The Halfords Racing with Cataclean duo of Daniel Rowbottom and Gordon Shedden made it an all-Honda top four as the Civic Type R proved to be the weapon of choice around the legendary 2.43-mile Grand Prix circuit in terms of its one-lap prowess.
Rowbottom had set the ultimate pace during the opening free practice session before Shedden returned the favour in the second segment, but it was BTC Racing that sealed the deal in qualifying.
Title contender Cook was leading the way in the closing ten minutes, closely followed by Proctor, but the latter had one final flier left in the tank. Four green sectors later and it was Proctor that had taken pole position by just 0.011s.
Incredibly, despite grabbing P1, the fastest individual sector times went to four different drivers as the final BTCC qualifying session of the campaign proved to be ultra-competitive.
The first 23 cars on the timesheets were covered by less than a second, with the top 12 all dipping under the existing qualifying lap record.
Daniel Lloyd’s fantastic run of form continued as the Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing driver took fifth, ahead of the Laser Tools Racing duo of Ash Sutton and Aiden Moffat.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington will line up eighth – directly behind championship rival Sutton on track – while the Bavarian machines of Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) and Tom Chilton (Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport) completed the top ten order.
Turkington also claimed the Goodyear Wingfoot Award as the best qualifier throughout the season, retaining the honour that he also won last year.
Sutton holds a 32-point advantage in the overall Drivers’ Standings ahead of tomorrow’s final triple-header, with Turkington leading the chasing pack from Tom Ingram (Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com), Jake Hill (MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square) and Cook.
A massive crowd is expected to descend on the famous Kent venue, whilst many many more will be watching the action live on ITV4 from 1045.
Senna Proctor said: “It was a tough session that one. I was halfway through thinking ‘this isn’t doable at that time’ but once I came over the line that was a good feeling. I knew it would be close, thankfully I grabbed it off Josh [Cook], but the main thing today is that BTC Racing has got a one-two in qualifying.
“The car’s been quick – the BTC Racing FK8 is unreal. Like I say once [Josh] did that time with 15 minutes to go it was big pressure on me, because I didn’t actually believe that I could do that lap time. I thought that was the best lap I had, but we pushed on. My tyre prep was a little better the second time around and we got the lap in!
“Had I done the full season I might have been higher up in the championship and took a little bit more weight into each weekend. When we’ve carried the weight, we’ve been competitive, but by no means am I saying I’d be in the top five in the championship. I think we would have been coming into this last event within mathematical contention of the championship and we’d have been there or thereabouts.”
Josh Cook said: “I’m pleased with that. I had a difficult morning so it’s good to turn it around. Obviously, I’m carrying a bit of success ballast as well, so I’m happy.
“Of course, I wanted pole. I thought we were going to be able to grab it, but if someone’s going to go quicker, at least it’s my team-mate because that’s great for the Teams’ Championship.”
Daniel Rowbottom said: “It’s a great result for the team. Halfords Racing with Cataclean in P3 and P4. It was a good lap, we could have gone a little bit quicker; I feel a little bit robbed.
“I think some tactics came into play there. I got blocked for a significant distance around what could have been a very good lap. But that’s touring car racing for you – roll on tomorrow.”
Colin Turkington – Goodyear Wingfoot Award Winner – said: “It’s a great award to win. It’s one I always have my eye on because it means that I am the fastest. I knew it was quite close coming into this weekend with Rory [Butcher] and Jake [Hill]. It’s a great award to win and it gives me a lot of pride. I won it last year as well so as Micky Butler says, I’ve got two doorstops now, one for the front and one for the back door!
“I’m really satisfied with qualifying. I felt I got the maximum out of the 3 Series. I did two runs and on the first run by myself and the car was fantastic on the new rubber. Then on run two I got a nice tow off Stephen [Jelley] and found an extra bit of lap time. I knew I delivered the maximum, so there was no point going for any more. Ash [Sutton] is in front – he’s done a great job – but I’m satisfied that I’ve got the most out of my package and tomorrow is a completely new day.”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Brands Hatch GP
1 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) BTC Racing 1:30.237s
2 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.011s
3 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.045s
4 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.122s
5 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.131s
6 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.146s
7 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.171s
8 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.172s
9 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.213s
10 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.272s
11 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.279s
12 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.290s
13 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.353s
14 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.361s
15 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.441s
16 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.504s
17 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.519s
18 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +0.556s
19 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.750s
20 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.761s
21 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +0.768s
22 Jack MITCHELL (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.787s
23 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.942s
24 Andy NEATE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +1.106s
25 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +1.576s
26 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1.761s
27 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.848s
28 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +2.155s