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BTCC Thruxton: Neal beats Turkington to pole with new record

Matt Neal secured his 18th career pole position in qualifying for the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton with a record-breaking lap in his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R

The three-time champion was locked in a fierce fight with the WSR BMW 125i M Sport of Colin Turkington as the two chased top slot, setting lap times way below the previous qualifying benchmark which was set by Neal in 2017.

Neal's previous record was a 1m16.040s, but he beat that by four tenths of a second in the latter stages of the 30-minutes session with a 1m15.612s.

Despite returning to the track, Turkington was unable to oust his foe.

"I had to lay it all on the line for that lap," said Neal.

"I knew they [BTCC stewards] were going to be really hot on drivers who exceeded the track limits here, so I got a banker lap in first and then I really went for it on the second lap.

"It came off, and I will take it. I am certainly going to celebrate that one tonight."

Turkington was pleased with second in his rear-wheel-drive BMW, which also broke the 1m16s barrier with a 1m15.847s lap.

"That is the fastest that the BMW has ever been around here, so I am very happy with that lap," said Turkington.

"We have a set-up on the car that we won't have to detune too much to see us through a race distance too, so that gives me lots of optimism."

Dan Cammish put his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R in third place, but his time was deleted as he was adjudged to have overstepped the track limits.

He returned to the track to set a better lap, which was enough to haul him back to fourth place behind the Eurotech Honda Civic of Brett Smith.

Cammish said: "It was important to get back out there and set an even better time, because sometimes it is hard to do that when you have had the knock of having a lap time disallowed.

"The car feels good and I will be going through Matt [Neal]'s data to try and get some tips before tomorrow."

Round two winner Senna Proctor will spearhead the third row of the grid in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.

Points leader Tom Ingram in the Speedworks Toyota Avensis had initially been due to start alongside Proctor after qualifying sixth, but will now start from 10th.

Ingram had been fourth early on before he first had a lap time removed for a track limits, and a later improvement was also scrubbed off for the same infringement.

His revised time of 1m16.407s was issued on Sunday morning.

The top 10 was completed by the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus pair of Sam Tordoff and Tom Chilton, Andrew Jordan (WSR BMW 125i M Sport) and the ninth place BTC Norlin Civic of Chris Smiley ahead of Ingram.

Reigning champion Ash Sutton struggled in his Team BMR car and will start in 18th place as the leading Subaru Levorg.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 1m15.612s - 11
2 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 1m15.847s 0.235s 16
3 Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 1m16.047s 0.435s 15
4 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 1m16.089s 0.477s 14
5 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 1m16.145s 0.533s 14
6 Sam Tordoff Motorbase Ford 1m16.221s 0.609s 16
7 Tom Chilton Motorbase Ford 1m16.256s 0.644s 14
8 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 1m16.318s 0.706s 16
9 Chris Smiley BTC Norlin Honda 1m16.395s 0.783s 14
10 Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 1m16.407s 0.795s 17
11 Matt Simpson Eurotech Racing Honda 1m16.457s 0.845s 15
12 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 1m16.513s 0.901s 15
13 Rob Collard WSR BMW 1m16.523s 0.911s 16
14 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 1m16.538s 0.926s 16
15 Josh Cook Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 1m16.603s 0.991s 13
16 Tom Oliphant Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 1m16.632s 1.020s 15
17 Rob Austin HMS Racing Alfa Romeo 1m16.641s 1.029s 15
18 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 1m16.690s 1.078s 17
19 Mike Bushell Team Hard Volkswagen 1m16.766s 1.154s 13
20 James Cole Motorbase Ford 1m16.779s 1.167s 16
21 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 1m16.805s 1.193s 16
22 James Nash BTC Norlin Honda 1m16.827s 1.215s 14
23 Josh Price Team BMR Subaru 1m16.894s 1.282s 15
24 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 1m16.918s 1.306s 15
25 Jake Hill Team Hard Volkswagen 1m16.937s 1.325s 14
26 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning MG 1m17.083s 1.471s 12
27 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 1m17.334s 1.722s 18
28 Michael Caine Team Hard Volkswagen 1m17.570s 1.958s 8
29 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 1m17.668s 2.056s 14
30 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 1m17.773s 2.161s 13
31 Tom Boardman AmD Tuning MG 1m18.113s 2.501s 12
32 Sam Smelt AmD Tuning Audi 1m18.271s 2.659s 15

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