Honda Racing’s Gordon Shedden has taken the first pole position of the season, making a brilliant gamble on going out early in the session as the rain continued to affect the Thruxton circuit. Fabrizio Giovanardi made a late charge to join him on the front row, denying the Honda Racing Team a one two position as Matt Neal now lines up in third.
Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan will start fourth, whilst Jason Plato set the fifth fastest time whilst his new team-mate and touring car rookie Alex MacDowall was set for sixth until he had his times from the first 20 minutes disallowed after failing a ride height check, leaving him to start from fifteenth.
The full qualifying results can be viewed by clicking this link.
It will be the first time in two years that Shedden starts from pole and marks the best possible start to the season, following on from his patchy 2009 campaign.
“That’s the hardest point I’ve ever scored,” said Shedden to btcc.net in reference to the bonus point awarded for pole position. “I managed to get a good clean lap and it’s great to be starting from front. Whatever the weather conditions tomorrow, there’s going to be lots of excitement, so to be starting with a clear track ahead is the best position to be in.”
Giovanardi, meanwhile, believes that he could have gone faster still. The Italian did not make it out on track until late in the session due to gearbox issues and by the time he got out to set a time the track was getting wetter.
Tom Chilton continued his pace from practice and will line up in sixth on the grid. As in previous years the BMW’s have struggled around the high-speed circuit, with only Mat Jackson making it into the top ten. He will start from seventh, sandwiched between the two Team Aon cars of Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole.
Phil Glew will make his BTCC debut from ninth on the grid, whilst Paul O’Neill will start from tenth after an impressive lap in the aerodynamic Honda Integra.