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Colin Turkington steals pole amid dramatic final qualifying session

Colin Turkington snatched pole position in the final stages of a dramatic qualifying session at this weekends British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch, edging out Tom Ingram by six thousandths of a second around the 2.43 mile venue.

Rob Austin claimed a notable and popular third in the sister Toyota Avensis of Handy Motorsport, with Turkington’s team-mate and fellow championship contender Jason Plato completing the second row.

The session proved to be a difficult one for the other six championship challengers on a record breaking weekend for the series in Kent, with the word ‘midfield’ becoming synonymous with the majority of the other title-hunting runners.

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Best placed of those is defending champion Gordon Shedden, who managed to squeeze his Honda Civic Type R inside the top ten with eighth fastest, nearly half a second adrift of Turkington, whilst his works Honda team-mate and three time series winner Matt Neal recovered to scale the timesheets as far as 12th in the closing stages.

Standings leader Sam Tordoff held his BMW 125i M-Sport steady in the conditions to 11th, with Rob Collard recovering impressively from early mechanical woes to take 13th.

The Motorbase duo of Andrew Jordan and the ever-present Mat Jackson proved to be the biggest losers in the wet weather, dropping to 14th and 20th respectively.

The initial running saw Tom Ingram look set to take a second pole position of the season at Brands Hatch after starting first at the series opener back in April, though a red flag stoppage after Aron Smith rolled his Volkswagen CC, combined with the onset of rain, threw several variables into an already tense situation.

The BKR driver went off into the gravel heading into Hawthorns at an angle, which pitched the car into a three-quarter roll before it eventually came to a rest on it’s roof. Smith appeared unharmed in the aftermath of the incident, though he dropped to 24th by the session’s conclusion.

In hindsight, the rain seemed inevitable. The clouds above Brands Hatch became darker with each passing moment after the green light signalled the start of the half-hour session, and the two factors combined to leave several title contenders stuck in the pit lane, and fearing the worst.

The most prominent of which was Rob Collard. Collard, who has only to add a pole position and a maiden title to his decorated CV in the series, suffered a gear selection problem on his BMW as he exited the pit lane at the start of the session and was forced to cut back into the pit lane via the Indy configuration of the circuit to give his WSR engineers more time to solve the issue. He will be pleased with 13th, given the circumstances.

Though the rain initially meant nobody could improve their lap times when the green flag was waved to restart qualifying, the effect of 30 NGTC machines clearing the water soon meant a dry line not only emerged, but proved a potent weapon in the final ten minutes.

The order changed with every passing moment from thereon in. All of the title contenders, most notably Turkington and Plato, were able to better themselves. Hunter Abbott also put in his best ever qualifying result amid the chaos to go fifth. Ashley Sutton fell foul not once, but twice, to track limits and will start behind his Jack Sears Trophy rival Michael Epps for race one. Aiden Moffat was also called out by the stewards, but he recovered to 10th by the end.

Pole position for Turkington means he gains a crucial point and moves to thirty-six points behind Sam Tordoff heading into the final day tomorrow, though it will still prove a big ask for the Ulsterman to take a third championship crown. The standard has definitely been set, as far as the drama is concerned, though.

The first race starts at 11:32 tomorrow, with live coverage availble via ITV4. will be trackside throughout Finals Day to bring you the latest news first hand as it happens.

EDITORS NOTE: Tom Ingram subsequently had all of his lap times disallowed for failing the post-qualifying ride-height check, and will thus start race one from the back of the grid in 31st position.

Qualifying times

1 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 1:31.838
2 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 16 1:32.052 0.214
3 99 M Jason PLATO Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:32.059 0.221
4 53 Hunter ABBOTT Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze 15 1:32.066 0.228
5 66 M Josh COOK MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 15 1:32.096 0.258
6 31 C Jack GOFF Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport 16 1:32.204 0.366
7 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 13 1:32.320 0.482
8 33 Adam MORGAN WIX Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 11 1:32.391 0.553
9 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 16 1:32.581 0.743
10 600 C Sam TORDOFF Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 16 1:32.687 0.849
11 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 13 1:32.857 1.019
12 100 C Rob COLLARD Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 14 1:32.980 1.142
13 77 Andrew JORDAN Motorbase Performance Ford Focus 10 1:33.085 1.247
14 12 Mike EPPS RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis 17 1:33.095 1.257
15 116 M Ashley SUTTON MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 11 1:33.099 1.261
16 48 Ollie JACKSON AmD Tuning Audi S3 14 1:33.379 1.541
17 303 Matt SIMPSON Speedworks Motorsport Honda Civic Type R 16 1:33.401 1.563
18 30 Martin DEPPER Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 1:33.416 1.578
19 7 Mat JACKSON Motorbase Performance Ford Focus 12 1:33.563 1.725
20 24 Jake HILL RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis 15 1:33.903 2.065
21 20 M James COLE Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 12 1:34.085 2.247
22 39 M Warren SCOTT Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:34.564 2.726
23 40 Árón SMITH BKR Volkswagen CC 3 1:34.738 2.900
24 14 Alex MARTIN Dextra Racing with Team Parker Ford Focus 16 1:34.793 2.955
25 84 Kelvin FLETCHER Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze 15 1:34.968 3.130
26 34 Tony GILHAM TLC Racing Toyota Avensis 15 1:35.822 3.984
27 17 Dan WELCH Goodestone Racing Proton Persona 13 1:35.879 4.041
28 38 Mark HOWARD BKR Volkswagen CC 10 1:36.888 5.050
29 55 Jeff SMITH Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 10 1:37.529 5.691
30 95 Stewart LINES Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 15 1:38.266 6.428
31 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 11 1:31.844* 0.006*

* Times disallowed.

Complete session results

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