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Sam Tordoff left satisfied after qualifying

Sam Tordoff was more than happy with eighth place in qualifying for the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship season, as he continues to learn his way around his West Surrey Racing BMW.

Tordoff, who moved to the team after two years with Triple Eight Racing, qualified less than one-quarter-of-a-second behind teammate and polesitter Andy Priaulx in the first qualifying session of the year at Brands Hatch.

Eighth on the grid meant that Tordoff was the third of the squad’s three drivers, with Rob Collard claiming fifth spot, but the 25 year-old insisted that he was still pleased with his exploits in qualifying.

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“I was really happy with it,” Tordoff told TouringCars.Net. “P8 doesn’t sound all that great but I was only two tenths off Andy, it was really strong.

“For me it’s just a case of experience and trying to understand this car and rear-wheel drive and getting more and more comfortable with it.

“We came here a week ago and I was half a second off Andy so every time I get in the car I’m learning and getting quicker so I’m really happy with that, it gives us a good chance going into tomorrow and there are so many unknowns with new rules and regulations changes that P8 and two-tenths off pole is good.”

With conditions expected to improve somewhat on raceday, Tordoff was hopeful that slightly warmer conditions would suit the BMW better, but conceded that there plenty of unknowns ahead going into the three races.

“The warmer it is it’s probably better for us; we struggle to generate heat in the front tyres so it should be a bit better for us tomorrow and we’ve just got see how the regulations play out; race one is going to be a bit of a lottery with everybody trying to get the fastest lap for that race two starting position, obviously our start tomorrow is a bit of an unknown because we’re expecting to be hampered a little bit but how much, we don’t know.

“We’ve got to feel our way through the weekend and see what happens – the important thing will be to finish all three races in the points and move on, hopefully with me gaining some rear-wheel drive experience and see where we end up tomorrow night.”

Tordoff also said that he had settled in well at the team, and that having two experienced and high-profile teammates was helping his development as a driver.

“The guys here are a really good bunch to work with. I feel like I’ve been in this team for a lot longer than the first weekend; we’ve done a lot of testing and got to learn the guys and everything’s just going really well.

“The car is great and I’m really happy to have brought my two sponsors, JCT600 and GardX on board and it’s all worked rather perfectly.

“I would always prefer to have a real star teammate, I’m not one for shying away from them and for me learning rear-wheel drive I need someone who’s at the top of their game; Andy Priaulx still is that man so it’s a great learning curve and experience and hopefully soon we’ll be matching him, if not going quicker.”

Nevertheless, the Yorkshireman insisted that his feet were firmly on the ground in setting himself targets for the season.

“To start with I’m not setting any major goals,” he said. “It was a big change for me to go back to rear-wheel drive which I haven’t driven for quite a number of years so for me it’s just about finding my way, every time I go out in the car I feel more like it’s my car, and I’m just trying to chip away at the three-time champion who’s my teammate.”

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