British Touring Car Championship
Brands Hatch (GP) - Qualifying - 1/10/16
Following a period of dry weather, qualifying for the first of tomorrow's three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title-deciding races took place as rain once again started to fall at the Brands Hatch circuit. Rob Collard returned to his pit garage on the out-lap with gear linkage issues and as engineers attended to his Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport, the rest of the field set about securing lap times in case the weather conditions deteriorated.
As current championship leader, Collard's team-mate Sam Tordoff, who had to carry the maximum 75Kg success ballast, was the first driver to post a lap time. MG Racing RCIB Insurance's Josh Cook was the first of many drivers to post a competitive lap time in his MG6GT ahead of the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GTs of Colin Turkington and Jason Plato.
A few minutes later, Mat Jackson went fastest in his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus however his time was immediately beaten by first Jason Plato and then Josh Cook as the rain started to ease and a dry line formed. Tom Ingram then posted the fastest lap of the session so far with a 1:33.478 while Plato was on a charge and trying to catch him during the favourable track conditions.
With 22 minutes remaining on the clock, Aron Smith ran off the track at Westfield and as his BKR Volkswagen CC slid across the gravel trap, the wheels dug in and the car rolled gently on to its side, causing the session to be red-flagged whilst marshals dealt with the incident. During the recovery of Smith's car, the rain returned and the session resumed with Tom Ingram topping the timesheet ahead of Jason Plato, Ashley Sutton, Mat Jackson and Gordon Shedden.
In the adverse conditions, many drivers decided it was not worth taking to the track again, however with 15 minutes remaining the rain started to ease off again so they ventured out in case conditions improved enough to post faster lap times. Initially, light rain continued, preventing any progress of the front-runners although the mid-field runners started to set improved lap times. As the rain continued to ease, a dry line appeared again and in the closing minutes a flurry of fast lap times were set by drivers fortunate to be out on track.
When the chequered flag appeared to mark the end of the session, it was Colin Turkington who was at the top of the time sheet, securing pole position for the first of tomorrow's races. Tom Ingram ended the session 2nd fastest and will join Turkington on the front row of the grid. Qualifying 3rd and 4th, Rob Austin will start on row 2 alongside Jason Plato with Hunter Abbott and Josh Cook on row 3. Jack Goff and Gordon Shedden will start on row 4 with Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffat on row 5.
Published 1 October 2016