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Qualifying report
BTCC Silverstone

BTCC Silverstone: Rookie Doble takes shock pole

British Touring Car Championship rookie Mikey Doble provided the shock of the season by claiming pole position after topping qualifying at Silverstone.

Mikey Doble, CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra

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The reigning Ginetta GT5 and BMW Compact Cup champion, driving a Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, ended the pole monopoly for 2023 of the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST squad, which had stretched to eight out of eight.

Doble put himself comfortably into the Q2 top-10 shootout with fifth fastest in Q1, which had been topped by the West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport of free practice pacesetter Jake Hill.

But no one had an answer to the Vauxhall, in which Doble was running the full 15 seconds per lap of hybrid boost at a minimum deployment of 115km/h. Hill set a laptime very early on that was 0.068 seconds quicker, but this was deleted due to a track-limits infringement.

Closest to Doble was four-time champion Colin Turkington in his WSR BMW – the Northern Irishman had seven seconds of boost at 130km/h, and fell just 0.012s short of pole.

“I can’t quite believe what’s just happened,” said Doble. “I thought getting into the top 10 shootout was achievement enough: ‘thanks very much, that’s good’.

“But then to hear my engineer say ‘I don’t think anyone’s going to go any quicker’… I’m over the moon.

“The thing I kept telling myself was just to not overdrive the car – it was on rails.”

Reigning champion Tom Ingram, on just three seconds of hybrid at 135km/h, qualified his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N just 0.030s slower than Doble, on a circuit where he believes the hybrid ‘success’ handicap counts heavily.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Hill was allowed a laptime good enough for fourth on five seconds/135km/h hybrid, one spot ahead of championship leader Ash Sutton.

Sutton had only just squeaked into Q2 with 10th position in Q1, on one second/135km/h hybrid, but put himself into the picture in the shootout and was the last driver within 0.1s of Doble’s pole time.

Tom Chilton made it two Excelr8 Hyundais in the top six, although Motorbase Ford pilot Dan Cammish – racing the spare car campaigned by Ollie Jackson in 2020 and 2021 – set a quicker time that was lost to track limits.

Aron Taylor-Smith took eighth spot in his PMR Vauxhall, with Rory Butcher and his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla in ninth.

Motorbase Ford racer Sam Osborne, his Focus carrying a Valvoline livery harking back to the works Mondeos of the mid-1990s, put in a Paul Radisich-esque performance to outpace all of his team-mates in Q1 with sixth place, but fell back to 10th in Q2, one of many to lose laps to track limits.

BTCC Silverstone Qualifying Results

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h
1
M. Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
88 Vauxhall Astra 9 57.599   102.527
2 United Kingdom C. Turkington Team BMW 4 BMW 330e M Sport 10 +0.012 0.012 102.505
3 United Kingdom T. Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 1 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 8 +0.030 0.018 102.473
4 United Kingdom J. Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 24 BMW 330e M Sport 10 +0.045 0.015 102.447
5 United Kingdom A. Sutton NAPA Racing UK 116 Ford Focus ST 9 +0.064 0.019 102.413
6 United Kingdom T. Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 3 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 8 +0.111 0.047 102.330
7 United Kingdom D. Cammish NAPA Racing UK 27 Ford Focus ST 9 +0.187 0.076 102.195
8 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing 40 Vauxhall Astra 9 +0.247 0.060 102.089
9 United Kingdom R. Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 6 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 10 +0.281 0.034 102.029
10 United Kingdom S. Osborne NAPA Racing UK 77 Ford Focus ST 8 +3.350 3.069 96.891

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