British Touring Car Championship
Oulton Park (Island) - Qualifying - 4/6/16
Following the earlier free practice sessions where Tom Ingram topped the timesheets, attention then turned to the qualifying session to determine the grid for the first of tomorrow's three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races from the picturesque Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire and with pole position, the first championship point of the weekend.
The earlier overcast sky had made way for bright sunshine at the track which is set in rural parkland. After the initial laps where drivers pitted to swap tyres it was the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team that set the early pace with three of their four Levorg GTs topping the timesheet with Jason Plato in provisional pole position.
Before long, Plato's team-mate Colin Turkington had moved to the top of the timesheet where he remained for the rest of the session. Turkington's performance represents Subaru's maiden BTCC pole position and a major achievement for the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team who swiftly turned their fortunes around with new parts and rigorous reliability testing following their withdrawal from the previous event owing to safety issues with the high pressure fuel rails in their Levorg GTs.
BTCC new-comer Daniel Lloyd put in an amazing qualifying lap to end the session 2nd fastest in his Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R, beating more experienced drivers including former BTCC Drivers' Championship winners. Lloyd will start the first race tomorrow on front row of the grid alongside pole-sitter Colin Turkington. Having finished the first practice session in 8th place and the second practice session in 6th, Sam Tordoff continued his improvement, qualifying his Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 3rd.
Tom Ingram qualified his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis in 4th place ahead of reigning BTCC Drivers' Champion Gordon Shedden 5th for Halfords Yuasa Racing and Jason Plato who put a second Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GT into the top 6 for the start of tomorrow's first race. Ashley Sutton qualified his MG6GT in 7th place for MG Racing RCIB Insurance ahead of Matt Neal in 8th in the other Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R. Aron Smith and Josh Cook completed the top 10 qualifiers.
The scene is now set for a thrilling day's racing at the fantastic Cheshire circuit. Silverline Subaru BMR Racing will be keen to continue their qualifying performance and justify the confidence shown in their pre-event interviews. Will Subaru get their maiden BTCC victory at Oulton Park? With two cars on the first 3 rows on the grid they certainly have a good chance however there are a lot of fast cars around them so anything could happen! Catch all the action on ITV4 with race reports on these pages.
Published 4 June 2016