Rory Butcher secures maiden Ford Focus ST pole position at Brands Hatch GP

Motorbase Performance’s Rory Butcher secured the first pole position for the new-for-2020 Ford Focus ST in qualifying for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch.

The Scot managed the benchmark time of 1:31.111 early in the half-hour session, on just his fourth tour of the 2.4-mile Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

It was a memorable session for the Kent-based Motorbase outfit on home soil, securing a 1-3 with Ollie Jackson heading the second row, with the pair split by Dan Cammish who was just 0.031 adrift of Butcher.

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It was a solid effort from Cammish, who was pleased with a front-row start given he carried 54kg aboard his Team Dynamics-run Honda Civic Type R around the fast-and-flowing track.

In fourth position was practice pacesetter Jake Hill, who has used his local knowledge to good effect throughout the day.

The Kent racer looked to improve on his time in the final third of the session, but have a grassy moment at Sheene Curve to ultimately end qualifying just half a tenth adrift of pole.

Reigning champion and current standings leader Colin Turkington was another to put an impressive performance in while carrying weight, ending the session 0.342 off Butcher’s pole lap.

He heads the third row ahead of team-mate Tom Oliphant, with the Team BMW pair actually setting identical times of 1:31.453, with Turkington getting the position by virtue of setting the time earlier in the session.

Senna Proctor carried his momentum from strong practice pace, which he translated into seventh position in the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N, just under half a tenth quicker than Tom Ingram’s Toyota Corolla in eighth position.

Josh Cook placed ninth ahead of BTC Racing team-mate Tom Chilton, who will keep him company on the fifth row of the grid for the opening race tomorrow, while fellow FK8 Honda Civic runner Matt Neal could only manage 11th after struggling throughout the day with setup.

He placed ahead of Stephen Jelley in 12th, with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan another runner to have a grassy moment on the exit of Sheene Curve, gathering it up on the dry grass to keep his A-Class out of the barriers.

Donington Park race three winner Ash Sutton appeared to struggle in the session, and only managed 14th after a few spectacular attempts.

His Laser Tools Racing-run Infiniti Q50 had a water leak in second practice, limiting his running to only six laps and perhaps highlighting why he will start on the seventh row of the grid.

Chris Smiley, who secured Hyundai’s maiden series podium last time out in Leicestershire, completed the top 15 runners ahead of Sam Osborne, Bobby Thompson and Michael Crees.

Crees had initially set a time good enough for tenth place, but would have the time removed for exceeding track limits.

The opening British Touring Car Championship race at the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is scheduled to get underway tomorrow [9 August] at 10:50 BST.

Qualifying results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 6 I Rory BUTCHER Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 10 1:31.111 0.000
2 27 M Dan CAMMISH Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R 11 1:31.142 0.031
3 48 I Ollie JACKSON Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 12 1:31.149 0.038
4 24 I Jake HILL MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type-R 13 1:31.166 0.055
5 1 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 12 1:31.453 0.342
6 15 M Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 15 1:31.453 0.342
7 18 I Senna PROCTOR Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N 13 1:31.527 0.416
8 80 M Tom INGRAM Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters Toyota Corolla 12 1:31.572 0.461
9 66 I Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 13 1:31.661 0.550
10 3 I Tom CHILTON BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 14 1:31.684 0.573
11 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R 13 1:31.690 0.579
12 12 I Stephen JELLEY Team Parker Racing BMW 125i M Sport 14 1:31.729 0.618
13 32 I Adam MORGAN Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class 14 1:31.758 0.647
14 116 I Ashley SUTTON Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 15 1:31.869 0.758
15 22 I Chris SMILEY Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 Fastback N 15 1:31.884 0.773
16 4 I Sam OSBORNE MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Honda Civic Type-R 12 1:31.931 0.820
17 19 I Bobby THOMPSON GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 10 1:32.037 0.926
18 777 I Michael CREES The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 14 1:32.057 0.946
19 31 I Jack GOFF RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 10 1:32.107 0.996
20 180 I James GORNALL GKR TradePriceCars.com Audi S3 14 1:32.193 1.082
21 16 I Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 16 1:32.379 1.268
22 41 I Carl BOARDLEY Team HARD. BMW 125i M Sport 16 1:32.401 1.290
23 44 I Andy NEATE Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST 14 1:32.491 1.380
24 34 I Ollie BROWN RCIB Insurance Racing with Fox Transport Volkswagen CC 15 1:33.133 2.022
25 28 I Nicolas HAMILTON ROKiT Racing with Team HARD. Volkswagen CC 11 1:33.248 2.137
26 32 I Jack BUTEL Carlube Triple R Racing with Mac Tools Mercedes-Benz A-Class 15 1:34.440 3.329
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