Brands Hatch BTCC: Rowbottom takes maiden pole position

The Team Dynamics Honda squad took a 1-2 in British Touring Car Championship qualifying at Brands Hatch, with Dan Rowbottom grabbing pole position and team-mate Gordon Shedden second.

Brands Hatch BTCC: Rowbottom takes maiden pole position

Rowbottom, in just his second BTCC season, moved to the top of the times with six minutes remaining, and a couple of minutes later the sister Civic Type R of three-time champion Gordon Shedden joined him on the front row, just 0.005 seconds adrift.

While Rowbottom is running without success ballast, the performance looks extremely impressive in light of established star Shedden carrying just 9kg into Brands.

“It doesn’t seem real; the team have done a great job and we’ve worked through the day,” said the modest Rowbottom.

“The lap felt really messy, but sometimes they do, right? I think it was more luck than judgement – we managed to do the right things at the right time.”

Jake Hill sat at the top of the leaderboard until the Hondas moved to the fore, with his Motorbase-run MB Motorsport Ford Focus vastly improved from free practice.

Along with all the Fords, Hill, who has 39kg of success ballast, was struggling through Clearways – the most important corner on the Indy circuit – but credited his engineer Craig Pawley with “sort of reinventing the wheel” in time for qualifying.

The late form of the Hondas also knocked Tom Oliphant, carrying no ballast on his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330i M Sport, off the front row.

The newly engaged Cheshire racer still led the BMW charge, with four-time champion Colin Turkington struggling to 14th on the grid with 57kg of weight on board his car.

Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport

Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Aiden Moffat put in a strong qualifying performance to plant his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 in fifth place, while team-mate and reigning champion Ash Sutton emerged in seventh place with the full 75kg ballast on board, justifying his realism after topping free practice.

In between them in sixth place was the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N of Tom Ingram, going nicely with 66kg of weight. Ingram survived a gravelly moment at Paddock Hill Bend but had already set his best time at this point.

Chris Smiley made it two Excelr8 Hyundais in the top eight, while Josh Cook ended up ninth, with 48kg of ballast aboard his BTC Racing Honda.

Completing the top 10 is Stephen Jelley in his WSR BMW, which is carrying 27kg of ballast.

BTCC Brands Hatch Indy - Qualifying results:

 
 Pos  Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Gap 
Daniel Rowbottom Honda 48.074  
Gordon Shedden Honda 48.079 0.005
Jake Hill Ford 48.179 0.105
Tom Oliphant BMW 48.184 0.110
Aiden Moffat Infiniti 48.318 0.244
Tom Ingram Hyundai 48.332 0.258
Ash Sutton Infiniti 48.370 0.296
Chris Smiley Hyundai 48.372 0.298
Josh Cook Honda 48.407 0.333
10  Stephen Jelley BMW 48.428 0.354
11  Jack Goff Cupra 48.428 0.354
12  Daniel Lloyd Vauxhall 48.431 0.357
13  Senna Proctor Honda 48.433 0.359
14  Colin Turkington BMW 48.457 0.383
15  Sam Osborne Ford 48.493 0.419
16  Rory Butcher Toyota 48.506 0.432
17  Jason Plato Vauxhall 48.522 0.448
18  Carl Boardley Infiniti 48.580 0.506
19  Ollie Jackson Ford 48.617 0.543
20  Árón T.-Smith Cupra 48.677 0.603
21  Adam Morgan BMW 48.680 0.606
22  Glynn Geddie Cupra 48.727 0.653
23  Jade Edwards Honda 48.756 0.682
24  Tom Chilton BMW 48.885 0.811
25  Rick Parfitt Hyundai 48.903 0.829
26  Sam Smelt Toyota 48.909 0.835
27  Jack Butel Hyundai 48.982 0.908
28  Andy Neate Ford 48.984 0.910
29  Nicolas Hamilton Cupra 49.325 1.251
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