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BTCC Brands Hatch: Maiden pole for Smith as title rivals struggle

Brett Smith claimed his first British Touring Car Championship pole position at Brands Hatch, as title favourites Colin Turkington and Tom Ingram struggled in qualifying for the series finale

Eurotech Honda Civic driver Smith pipped the factory-backed and newer-shape Team Dynamics Civic Type R of early pacesetter Dan Cammish with six minutes to go.

Smith, who is 24th in the points and therefore had no success ballast aboard his car, said he had been surprised with the result.

"I thought Brands Hatch was a bogey track for me," said the 26-year-old.

"I did my quick lap and then went for a second run and had a massive slide at Graham Hill Bend and I thought I had ruined it.

"Then the team got on the radio and told me it was P1. I couldn't believe it."

Cammish, for his part, felt he had been denied a shot at setting an even faster time by troublesome traffic.

The Honda man was on his fastest lap when he happened across a queue of cars heading into Clearways.

Cammish will start ahead of his team-mate Matt Neal, who said he was pleased with the time and with his starting slot.

The top five on the grid will be completed by Jack Goff's Eurotech Honda Civic and Dan Lloyd's similar car, run by BTC Norlin. Senna Proctor will start sixth in the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.

Championship leader Colin Turkington will line up in 17th spot in his WSR BMW 125i M Sport, one place behind title outsider Tom Chilton's Motorbase Ford Focus.

Second in the points, Tom Ingram, will line up 19th in his Speedworks Toyota Avensis.

Turkington leads the standings by 34 points going in to tomorrow's three races from Ingram, with Chilton 64 points adrift with 67 to play for.

Turkington had 75kg aboard his rear-wheel-drive car and said he was satisfied with the performance to grab 17th if not the position.

"It is important that I am ahead of Ingram," he said.

"It gives me the upper hand early on in the weekend."

Ingram, who carried 66kg of weight into the session, thought that he had more to come.

He said: "We knew qualifying would be the hardest part of the weekend although I am not sure any of us with weight expected to be this far back.

"We have work to do to take some serious points out of Colin in race one, but we know what the BTCC finale weekend can bring. It is still all to play for."

The session was red-flagged in the dying moments when Rory Butcher's AmD MG slid into the gravel on the grand prix loop.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 1m30.537s
2 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 0.043s
3 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 0.188s
4 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 0.236s
5 Daniel Lloyd BTC Norlin Honda 0.238s
6 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 0.310s
7 Sam Tordoff Motorbase Ford 0.349s
8 Chris Smiley BTC Norlin Honda 0.358s
9 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 0.378s
10 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 0.382s
11 Ricky Collard WSR BMW 0.441s
12 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 0.462s
13 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 0.574s
14 Rob Austin HMS Racing Alfa Romeo 0.586s
15 Tom Chilton Motorbase Ford 0.588s
16 James Cole Motorbase Ford 0.603s
17 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 0.627s
18 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 0.632s
19 Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 0.687s
20 Tom Oliphant Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 0.765s
21 Mike Bushell Team Hard Volkswagen 0.771s
22 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 0.812s
23 Josh Cook Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 0.856s
24 Matt Simpson Simpson Racing Honda 0.927s
25 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning MG 1.165s
26 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 1.218s
27 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 1.270s
28 Sam Smelt AmD Tuning Audi 1.523s
29 Ethan Hammerton Team Hard Volkswagen 1.718s
30 Ollie Pidgley Team Hard Volkswagen 1.994s
31 Josh Caygill AmD Tuning MG 2.757s

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