Published on April 5th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW Secures Pole Today’s BTCC Race
Andy Priaulx landed a sensational pole position in his first qualifying session on his return to the British Touring Car Championship, beating a trio of Team BMR Volkswagen CCs at Brands Hatch. In a rain-threatened and disrupted session, the three-time World Touring Car Champion posted a best time of 48.411s midway through the half-hour to beat Árón Smith into second place, with Jason Plato third ahead of Colin Turkington.
Grey clouds loomed over the Kent circuit as the session got underway, with a number of drivers taking to the track immediately to try and beat any potential weather. Indeed, it was Priaulx who kicked the quick times off after five minutes, as he got straight down to business with a 49.612s. Teammate Sam Tordoff then posted the fastest lap of the weekend, a 48.878s, before Priaulx responded with a 48.589s. Drivers were clearly pushing to the limit, as Andrew Jordan ran wide on the exit of Paddock Hill before his teammate Jack Goff had an off at the back of the circuit.
After Turkington showed his hand and moved to the top of the standings, the top four (of Turkington, Priaulx, Gordon Shedden and Plato) were separated by less than a tenth-of-a-second. The track was then quiet for a brief spell before Priaulx posted his pole-winning time. And the timing of that lap proved to be crucial, as moments later Martin Depper’s Honda Civic lost its left-front wheel with a red flag flown to allow for its recovery.
With ten minutes left on the clock, the setting was there for an enthralling close to the session, and although the drivers looked as though they might disappoint on that front, a spate of laps in the final few minutes brought the promised excitement. Tordoff kicked things off as he first improved his time but not his position, before moving into fifth with a 48.631s. Priaulx was unable to improve his time but a lap of 48.525s was still faster than any of his competitors, until Smith popped up witha 48.480s, beating Plato (48.534s) and Turkington (48.535s) into third and fourth respectively.
Rob Collard was another late improver to fifth, while Jack Goff secured sixth on his qualifying debut for MG, less than two-tenths-of-a-second shy of pole. Shedden had a quiet but productive run to seventh, pipping Tordoff with his last lap of the session. Tom Ingram had another strong run to ninth place, ahead of Matt Neal who completed the top ten in the second Civic Type R.
As had been the case in the two practice sessions, 26 cars took to the track with only Warren Scott missing after an off at the end of second practice.
Round One of the 2015 season gets underway this morning.