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Colin Turkington takes last-gasp Croft pole

Colin Turkington took pole position in qualifying for the British Touring Car Championship at Croft, sensationally setting the top time in the closing minutes of the session after a red-flag delay.

Click here for the full Round 13 qualifying results.

The eBay Motors driver had been in fourth with four minutes to go when the red flags were flown after young racer Joe Girling suffered a heavy crash at the exit of the chicane. When the session resumed, Turkington went fastest to knock Jason Plato off pole by 0.148 seconds and secure his seventh BTCC pole.

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“The pace has been steadily improving,” said Turkington to TouringCars.Net. “I was third in free practice one this morning with what I felt was a difficult car so I knew if we could improve the balance there is more performance there. It’s been a good track for the BMWs.

“We’ve made small improvements. I didn’t have any new tyres this morning so once we put a fresh set of tyres on it hooked up and I was able to produce the lap.”

MG’s Plato had been on top of the times since the half-way stage of the session, but the former champion was unable to improve his time after the ten-minute stoppage.

Honda will occupy the second row of the grid for Sunday’s opening race, after Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden qualified in third and fourth respectively. Shedden did not have an incident-free session, however, as the reigning champion had a slide and gentle off into the barriers within the first ten minutes.

Andrew Jordan was fifth fastest in his independent Honda, ahead of the second WSR BMW of Rob Collard, who continued to show strong pace at Croft.

Frank Wrathall was the top Toyota driver in seventh, ahead of Sam Tordoff’s MG, Tom Onslow-Cole’s Volkswagen and Adam Morgan’s Toyota, with the latter’s team having worked flat-out to repair his car after his second practice accident.

Mat Jackson was the top Airwaves driver in 11th, whilst Michael Caine also put in a strong performance in the third Motorbase Ford, outqualifying his full-time team-mate Árón Smith by posting the 15th fastest time, with Smith in 16th.

Lea Wood was once again the top S2000-class driver, qualifying in 22nd ahead of rookie Jake Hill who is making his BTCC début this weekend as a stand-in for regular driver Liam Griffin.

Joe Girling qualified in 26th although it is unclear if his Tech-Speed team will be able to repair the significant damage to his car overnight.

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