Thruxton BTCC: Rowbottom snatches pole from Hill
Team Dynamics Honda racer Dan Rowbottom snatched the second pole position of his British Touring Car Championship career at Thruxton.
Rowbottom, who is saddled with 27kg of success ballast upon his Civic Type R, was top of the pile after the first runs.
But then Jake Hill, whose Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus is on 39kg ballast, set two laps good enough for pole, and was looking good to earn his first BTCC qualifying-topping effort. Then out came Rowbottom, and his final salvo was enough to dislodge Hill from pole and consign the Ford to the outside of the front row by 0.086 seconds.
“The car’s great, the team’s great, everything’s fantastic,” said Rowbottom, who was suffering a migraine during the morning. I’d better do a better start from pole than I did last time!”
It could have been an all-Dynamics front row: Gordon Shedden was on a hot lap at the midway point of the session, and was 0.1s up on Rowbottom’s eventual pole after the first two sectors.
Jake Hill, MB Motorsport Ford Focus ST
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
But then Shedden lost it at Church, and returned to the pits with his left-front brake on fire. He eventually resumed to qualify 14th, way adrift of his free-practice-topping time, which would have put him on the front row.
Even so, there were two Hondas in the top three, with a late effort from Josh Cook lifting his BTC Racing Civic – on 33kg ballast – to third on the grid.
Rory Butcher placed his ballast-free Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla fourth on the grid, but had a scary moment on the last lap when he had to fly off the road at Goodwood to avoid the slow-moving Infiniti of Carl Boardley.
Best rear-wheel-drive qualifier was Tom Oliphant, who put his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport into fifth place on no ballast, and pipped the Ciceley Motorsport BMW of Adam Morgan (on 9kg ballast), with whom he will share the third row.
Championship leader Ash Sutton, on the full 75kg weight in his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50, spent much of the session in the top three, but fell to seventh amid the raft of late improvers.
Josh Cook, BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
The other car on the fourth row will be the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra of Dan Lloyd.
Ninth on the grid was the result for Colin Turkington’s WSR BMW, on 57kg of ballast, after an adventurous session. Turkington appeared to be baulked on his first run, and late in the session got into a wild slide at Allard and strimmed the grass.
Senna Proctor rounded out the top 10 in his BTC Honda.
The main title contender outside the top 10 was Tom Ingram, whose Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N is carrying 66kg of success ballast.
Ingram set a time good enough for eighth on the grid early doors, but that was deleted due to a track-limits offence and his next best was good only for 12th, meaning he will share the sixth row with the second PMR Vauxhall of Jason Plato.
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