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Turkington on pole for BTCC race one at Donington Park

Saturday, April 27 2019

Team BMW's reigning BTCC champion Colin Turkington claimed pole position for Sunday's first touring car contest in a dramatic qualifying session at Donington Park this afternoon (Saturday).

Turkington's time, set in the first half of the session came when track conditions were at their best, with intermittent drizzle throughout making running tricky. 

Championship leader Josh Cook will start second for Sunday's first race, but was over six tenths of a second away from Turkington's time, while Ash Sutton was just 0.020s further behind in third for Subaru. 

Cook's BTC Racing team mate Chris Smiley was fourth fastest, 0.012s ahead of AmD's Sam Tordoff, with Toyota's Tom Ingram finishing off the top-six.

Honda's Dan Cammish was 0.009s behind in seventh, and just 0.013s ahead of team mate Matt Neal. BMW's Tom Oliphant and Vauxhall's Rob Collard completed the top-10.

The session was interrupted by red flags on three occasions with Mark Blundell's late spin into the gravel at McLeans bringing a slightly early end to the session with just under a minute remaining. Bobby Thompson caused the first stoppage after beaching himself in the gravel at the Old Hairpin early on, while Nic Hamilton had two spins at the same location, with his second, with five minutes remaining, bringing out the red flags for a second time. 

Turkington's time came as the rain stopped, with the high winds allowing the track to dry out rapidly. As other drivers looked poised to improve their times, the red flags flew for Thompson's drama, and as the session resumed and drivers began to set quicker times, the session was brought to a halt again after Hamilton became stranded at the Old Hairpin.

Blundell's final spin ensured no one was able to get a lap clear enough to topple the reigning champion, with Turkington's time earning the new BMW 3 Series it's first BTCC pole.

Turkington commented: "The sky was threatening before we went out and the guys told me to make sure I got a lap in early! It was difficult, the track wasn't at 100% throughout and definitely best at the start. I was really surprised with the time as it wasn't easy and I was fighting to keep it on track."

Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, Qualifying top-10:

1. Colin Turkington, Team BMW, BMW 330i M Sport, 1m09.871s
2. Josh Cook, BTC Racing, Honda Civic Type-R, +0.644s
3. Ash Sutton, Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, +0.664s
4. Chris Smiley, BTC Racing, Honda Civic Type-R, +0.767s
5. Sam Tordoff, Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance, Honda Civic Type-R +0.779s
6. Tom Ingram, Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, Toyota Corolla,+0.820s
7. Dan Cammish, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type-R, +0.829s
8. Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type-R, +0.842s
9. Tom Oliphant, Team BMW, BME 330i M Sport, +0.902s
10. Rob Collard, Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing, Vauxhall Astra, +0.997s

Click here for full qualifying result. 

Tickets for the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park are available on the gate all weekend, priced at £16 for adults today, and £35 tomorrow. Children aged under-13 go free all weekend. For more information click here