Qualifying: Pole apiece for Plato and Thompson

James Thompson and Jason Plato took a pole position apiece in the single half-hour qualifying session for Monday's BTCC rounds at Thruxton. With a driver's fastest two times both counting - the first for the Sprint grid and the second for the Feature - the closely-matched Vauxhall foursome dominated the top times with seven of their eight best laps covered by less than two tenths of a second

Qualifying: Pole apiece for Plato and Thompson

Thompson was happy enough with his performance, which included the fastest lap of the day. "JP just pipped me or it would have been the old double pole," he said, before praising the Astra Coupe. "It's the best car I've ever driven around here, really good fun."

Plato too was pleased, though understeer in the slow chicanes was costing him time. "I'm having to use the kerbs a bit more than I'd like, but it's OK," he said. "I'm still happy." Yvan Muller could not find a satisfactory balance in his Astra, but Phil Bennett was delighted to be right with his more experienced team mates.

The Peugeot squad continues to improve, but Steve Soper and Dan Eaves (who took a fifth and a sixth each) are still over a second away from the Vauxhall pace. "We've made a massive improvement," said Soper, "but the problem is there's still 1.3s to go."

The non-works Alfa and Lexus squads also made big progress, with Tom Ferrier in the JSM Alfa 147 the best of the rest. "It's still a bit lairy," he admitted, "but I'm very pleased with that session." Ferrier was on the rev-limiter on the straights and made mistakes of his own, so feels that there is still a chunk of time there for the taking with the correct gear ratios on board and a good lap.

Kurt Luby continued to exude enthusiasm for the new Lexus, though admitting that the team is still a long way from finding the right set-up. "We'll change it all again tomorrow," he said.

Simon Harrison blitzed the BTC Production session, lapping almost three-quarters of a second faster than anyone else. "It feels very stable in the fast corners," said Harrison, "maybe that's where the difference is. The main thing is that there are another two points in the bag, and I'm starting in the right place." Harrison's time gives him the BTCP pole for both of tomorrow's races, in which the whole BTCT field starts ahead of the full BTCP field.


Jason Plato (Vauxhall) 1m17.508s 19 laps
James Thompson (Vauxhall) 1m17.553s 15 laps
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall) 1m17.611s 17 laps
Phil Bennett (Vauxhall) 1m17.650s 15 laps
Dan Eaves (Peugeot) 1m18.827s 12 laps
Steve Soper (Peugeot) 1m18.920s 15 laps
Tom Ferrier (Alfa Romeo) 1m20.566s 15 laps
Dave Pinkney (Alfa Romeo) 1m21.316s 12 laps
Kurt Luby (Lexus) 1m21.494s 15 laps

James Thompson (Vauxhall) 1m17.419s 15 laps
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall) 1m17.523s 17 laps
Jason Plato (Vauxhall) 1m17.611s 19 laps
Phil Bennett (Vauxhall) 1m17.762s 15 laps
Steve Soper (Peugeot) 1m18.730s 15 laps
Dan Eaves (Peugeot) 1m19.030s 12 laps
Tom Ferrier (Alfa Romeo) 1m20.470s 15 laps
Dave Pinkney (Alfa Romeo) 1m20.928s 12 laps
Kurt Luby (Lexus) 1m21.357s 15 laps


1 Simon Harrison (Peugeot) 1m21.275s 10 laps
Roger Moen (Peugeot) 1m22.002s 14 laps
James Kaye (Honda) 1m22.374s 15 laps
Paul O'Neill (Peugeot) 1m22.660s 18 laps
Gavin Pyper (Alfa Romeo) 1m22.776s 12 laps
Peter Cate (Honda) 1m23.112s 14 laps

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