British Touring Car Championship
Brands Hatch (Indy) - Qualifying - 2/4/16
After two exciting practice sessions earlier today it was all down to the 30 minute qualifying session to see who would take the first pole position of 2016 and with it the first championship point of the year. This qualifying session, together with the first race tomorrow, are the only competitive sessions of the season where no success ballast applies and therefore provides a true performance comparison between all the competitors.
The session started under an overcast sky with an ever-present threat of rain. The early laps were spent with most of the drivers doing short runs and pitting to rotate their tyres. After a few minutes, the times began to tumble as the drivers started the business of putting together a meaningful qualifying lap. Several drivers briefly topped the time sheet however it was Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis who set the time to beat.
With 10 minutes of the session completed and the rain ever closer, Tom Ingram was the fastest driver on the track and the only driver to break the 48 second lap time barrier with a lap time of 47.990 seconds, just 0.063 seconds ahead of reigning BTCC Drivers' Champion Gordon Shedden in the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R. Behind Ingram and Shedden were Shedden's team-mate Matt Neal, MG Racing RCIB Insurance's Ashley Sutton, Team JCT600 with GardX's Sam Tordoff and Sutton's team-mate Josh Cook.
At the half time point, light rain started to fall which immediately prevented any improvement in lap times. Jack Goff in the Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport was running 31st fastest due to a steering pump problem however with the issue resolved was the man on the move, rapidly moving up the time sheet in the ensuing laps.
With 10 minutes of the session remaining, Jack Goff had moved up to 19th fastest and still gaining places. With 7 minutes remaining, he was 7th fastest as the rain started to ease. The lap times then recovered however for many drivers the chance to improve their position had passed. In the closing laps, Colin Turkington went 11th fastest in his Subaru Team BMR Levorg, just missing out on a top ten qualifying result for Subaru's first ever BTCC qualifying session.
As the flag dropped to end the session it was Tom Ingram who secured pole position for the first of tomorrow's three BTCC races. Ingram will be joined on the front row of the grid by Gordon Shedden with Matt Neal and Sam Tordoff on row two. The third row of the grid will be taken by MG Racing RCIB Insurance team-mates Ashley Sutton and Josh Cook with Adam Morgan and Jack Goff on row four with Mat Jackson and Aron Smith completing the top ten places on row five.
Published 2 April 2016