Chilton crashes then takes pole

Pole position for Tom Chilton in an unballasted Ford Focus was no surprise, but the spectacularly-coiffured British Touring Car Championship's ace method of achieving that at Croft was unconventional

Chilton crashes then takes pole

Chilton speared off the road and into the gravel, hitting the tyre wall, early in the session at Clervaux. But he managed to extract the Arena Motorsport-run Focus from the gravel and then set a scorching pole time to deny Gordon Shedden.

"I had a bit of luck," Chilton admitted, "but maximum points for trying hard! I locked up into Clervaux, but managed to get it out."

Shedden, similarly unballasted in his Dynamics-run Honda Civic, said: "I cannot hang it out any more than this. The time we did is fantastic, but when you're 3-4mph down on the Focuses on a circuit with so many long straights, it's very difficult."

Rob Collard was by far the fastest BMW runner, third in his WSR entry, ahead of BTCC rookie Alex MacDowall, who was ecstatic to head RML Chevrolet team-mate Jason Plato.

Matt Neal and Plato, the leading pair in the championship, lugged 45kg and 36kg respectively of ballast onto the third row, Neal relieved to have gone for a third run that enabled his Honda to keep Plato at bay.

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Tom Chilton Ford Focus 1m24.629s 2. Gordon Shedden Honda Civic 1m24.706s 3. Rob Collard BMW 320si 1m25.105s 4. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet Cruze 1m25.157s 5. Matt Neal Honda Civic 1m25.234s 6. Jason Plato Chevrolet Cruze 1m25.317s 7. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford Focus 1m25.337s 8. James Nash Vauxhall Vectra 1m25.339s 9. Paul O'Neill Honda Integra 1m25.480s 10. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall Vectra 1m25.593s 11. Daniel Lloyd Vauxhall Vectra 1m25.858s 12. Mat Jackson BMW 320si 1m25.884s 13. Tom Boardman SEAT Leon 1m25.915s 14. Dave Pinkney Vauxhall Vectra 1m25.925s 15. Steven Kane BMW 320si 1m25.948s 16. Andy Neate BMW 320si 1m26.484s 17. Martin Depper BMW 320si 1m27.123s 18. Martin Johnson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m27.528s 19. John George Honda Integra 1m27.538s 20. Arthur Forster BMW 320si 1m28.311s 21. Shaun Hollamby VW Golf no time 22. Lea Wood Honda Integra no time 
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Neal leads Croft practice sessions

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