Colin Turkington: ‘New qualifying system ramps up the pressure’

Colin Turkington praised the new format introduced for the British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Snetterton, in which the Team BMW driver claimed his second pole position of the year.

Turkington topped the ‘Q2’ element of the session with a late flying lap which was almost two tenths faster than Jake Hill, as he claimed an additional bonus point for pole.

The Northern Irishman had earlier been seventh fastest in ‘Q1’, four tenths off the top time, but he found an additional eight tenths in the final ten-minute shootout.

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Crucially for Turkington, championship leader Ash Sutton was only sixth, whilst the BMW driver’s pole cuts the points deficit to 11 ahead of race one.

“I’m so pleased with that; my first pole since Donington and a bonus point too, which is really important,” said Turkington.

“I knew my sectors were good and that I was up on my previous time, so I gave it everything. When I came across the line and saw the time, I knew it was a good one.

“We made a small change between Q1 and Q2 to help warm the tyres up a bit faster and it was definitely a good move.”

Turkington praised the new format, introducing a tiered qualifying format to the BTCC for the first time.

“I think the new qualifying system ramps up the pressure a bit on drivers and teams and I enjoyed it.

“It feels like a one-lap shootout – because of the cold conditions today, we only had a very narrow window of laps to do the time.

“You’ve got to be prepared to push, but the last thing you want to do is lock a brake or flat-spot a tyre so the pressure definitely ramps up.

“Now we’ll focus on doing what we need to do to make sure we have a fast BMW for the races tomorrow.”

Turkington added that the reduction in weight in his car had, in his view, helped him to be back on the pace after he dropped to third overall in the championship at Croft last time out.

“It’s nice to come out on top and rebound after our difficult Croft weekend. We took the positives from Croft as I arrived at Snetterton 6 kg lighter than I might have been.

“A small amount of weight can be just enough to unlock the handling on the 3 Series, and we definitely got it hooked-up today.”

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