Matt Neal smashes qualifying lap record en route to Thruxton pole

Matt Neal smashes qualifying lap record en route to Thruxton pole

Matt Neal
Photo: PSP Images

Matt Neal decimated the qualifying lap record by nearly half a second and gave the new-for-2018 Honda Civic Type R FK8 its first pole position in the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.

A quickest time of 1:15.612 around the 2.4 mile, high-speed Hampshire venue sees the triple champion head up the pack, with practice pace-setter Colin Turkington (Team BMW) alongside on the front row, some 0.235 seconds adrift.

It means that Neal tops the timesheets in qualifying at Thruxton for the second year in succession, having managed the same feat last May.

Brett Smith led the Eurotech Racing charge in his hatchback-shaped Type R with an impressive third, edging out the sister Team Dynamics machine of Dan Cammish.

Senna Proctor reinforced the positive showings from the Vauxhall Astra earlier in the day with fifth, whilst incumbent championship leader Tom Ingram managed sixth in a Toyota Avensis carrying the full quota of 75 kilograms of success ballast.

Sam Tordoff has cut a frustrated figure thus far in 2018, but with seventh he stands a good chance of fighting at the front in the Motorbase-run Focus RS, edging out stablemate Tom Chilton.

Andrew Jordan wasn’t quite able to match his team-mate and claimed ninth, with the BTC Norlin Racing Type R of Chris Smiley rounding out the top ten.

Matt Simpson came next ahead of the leading Mercedes A-Class of Adam Morgan, with local racer Rob Collard enjoying a solid run to 13th.

Jack Goff will have his work cut out to repeat last season’s podium success from 14th, especially with Donington Park race-winner Josh Cook alongside at the foot of the top fifteen.

Remarkably for this action-packed venue, the session passed without major drama and all 32 cars should take the start tomorrow afternoon without issue.

The opening race gets underway at 12:15.

Qualifying result

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 11 1:15.612 0.000
2 2 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 15 1:15.847 0.235
3 39 Brett SMITH WIX Racing with Eurotech Honda Civic Type R 14 1:16.047 0.435
4 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 14 1:16.089 0.477
5 18 M Senna PROCTOR Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra 14 1:16.145 0.533
6 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 16 1:16.179 0.567
7 600 Sam TORDOFF Team GardX Racing with Motorbase Ford Focus RS 16 1:16.221 0.609
8 3 Tom CHILTON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 14 1:16.256 0.644
9 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 125i M Sport 15 1:16.318 0.706
10 22 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civic Type R 13 1:16.395 0.783
11 303 Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 15 1:16.457 0.845
12 33 Adam MORGAN MAC Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 15 1:16.513 0.901
13 5 M Rob COLLARD Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 16 1:16.523 0.911
14 31 Jack GOFF WIX Racing with Eurotech Honda Civic Type R 15 1:16.538 0.926
15 66 M Josh COOK Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra 12 1:16.603 0.991
16 15 Tom OLIPHANT Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 15 1:16.632 1.020
17 11 Rob AUSTIN DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta 15 1:16.641 1.029
18 1 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 16 1:16.690 1.078
19 21 Mike BUSHELL Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing Volkswagen CC 12 1:16.766 1.154
20 20 James COLE Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher Ford Focus RS 16 1:16.779 1.167
21 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 15 1:16.805 1.193
22 14 James NASH BTC Norlin Racing Honda Civic Type R 13 1:16.827 1.215
23 28 Josh PRICE Autoglym Academy Racing Subaru Levorg GT 15 1:16.894 1.282
24 99 M Jason PLATO Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 14 1:16.918 1.306
25 24 Jake HILL Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing Volkswagen CC 13 1:16.937 1.325
26 6 Rory BUTCHER AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing MG 6 11 1:17.083 1.471
27 60 Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 18 1:17.334 1.722
28 44 Michael CAINE Team HARD. with Trade Price Cars Volkswagen CC 8 1:17.570 1.958
29 48 Ollie JACKSON AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 14 1:17.668 2.056
30 19 Bobby THOMPSON Team HARD. with Trade Price Cars Volkswagen CC 13 1:17.773 2.161
31 12 Tom BOARDMAN AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing MG 6 12 1:18.113 2.501
32 23 Sam SMELT AmD with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 15 1:18.271 2.659