Team BMW’s Colin Turkington says he gave everything to secure pole position for the opening British Touring Car Championship race of 2020 at Donington Park.
The reigning champion set the early pace in mixed conditions at the Leicestershire circuit, and would go on to improve throughout the session to set a new qualifying lap record with his time of 1:08.998.
The Northern Irishman noted that his BMW 330i M Sport was feeling better than ever in qualifying trim, and felt very proud to start his title defence on such a positive note.
“I’m so pleased to start the season like this,” he said. “Pole position, fastest in both practice sessions and with a very good feeling from the car.
“We improved the car through the day and I’m very happy to come out on top. Plus it’s a point for pole position too, and they can be incredibly important.
“It’s the best I’ve ever had the BMW 3 Series in qualifying, and it’s a good job too because the times were really close at the top. I used three sets of tyres and just threw everything at it. It puts us in a strong position for tomorrow.”
With rain falling prior to the half-hour qualifying session, Turkington knew getting a lap in early would be key in case of more rain, but the track would remain dry and improve as the session wore on.
“The car’s been really fast in free practice but the rain just started to sprinkle down about twenty minutes before qualifying which you come to expect with BTCC,” he told ITV.
“We had that last year, so I got a good banker in early doors, but the track was always on the move.
“It wasn’t 100% dry in every corner of every lap, so it was a difficult session.”
With a much-condensed 2020 calendar, Turkington believes consistency will be as key as ever with a special importance on staying clean due to the lack of turnaround between rounds.
“I think we’re all conscious that we’re racing at Brands Hatch in one week’s time,” he said.
“Getting the car home three times tomorrow in good points-scoring positions is surely the goal.
“You don’t always have to win the races, but if I can leave tomorrow having scored some points and some podiums then it’ll be a good start to the campaign.”
The opening British Touring Car Championship race of the 2020 season is scheduled to get underway tomorrow morning [2 August] at 11:10 BST.