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Commanding Tom Chilton on pole at Knockhill

Tom Chilton took a convincing pole position at Knockhill this afternoon in the British Touring Car Championship – his first of the season.

Click here for the full Round 19 Qualifying Results.

The Team Aon driver was on the top of the time sheets for most of the session, which saw three red flags being brought out for various incidents.

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Chilton’s time of 52.999 seconds is the beats the previous lap record held by Alex MacDowall around Knockhill – despite new kerbs having been installed this year. His nearest rival, Matt Neal, could only manage to get within two tenths and will start from second.

For the first-ever time it is an all-NGTC second row of the grid, with both Frank Wrathall (3rd) and Rob Austin (4th) putting in superb laps. Wrathall had been threatening to be in the top ten all session when a late lap saw him go straight to the second row. Austin’s fourth-placed effort is his best-ever, on the back of him also having taken a fastest lap at Snetterton.

Speaking about his qualifying effort, a delighted Wrathall said: “I think we’ve exceeded out expectations there. Being on the second row of the grid is mega and even though we hoped to be near the front, actually doing it is a different thing.”

Despite setting the pace in the morning’s two practice sessions Gordon Shedden could only manage fifth fastest, being demoted by the two NGTC drivers in the last five minutes of the session. Shedden is joined by Jason Plato on the third row of the grid, with Plato struggling for pace during most of the day but managing a good lap towards the end of qualifying.

Mat Jackson took his best qualifying result since the second meeting of the year with seventh. He has Alex MacDowall alongside him in eighth.

Unable to replicate the pace of his team-mate, Tom Onslow-Cole had to settle for ninth. The Team Aon driver had been higher up earier in the session but as the others around him improved he was unable to do so. Rob Collard will start in tenth alongside.

BTCC débutant Árón Smith had a respectable qualifying session, finishing in 15th and only just over a tenth behind his more experienced team-mate James Nash, who lines up in 12th.

There were three session stoppages due to various incidents; John George brought out the first when he had problems at the John R Weir chicane and ground to a halt. Any Neate (20th) brought out the second after losing control of his car at Duffus and getting stuck in the gravel. Finally, Paul O’Neill (14th) also had an off at the same place at Neate and a third red flag was required.

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