Rockingham BTCC: James Cole takes shock maiden career pole

James Cole claimed a shock maiden pole of his British Touring Car Championship career in his Subaru Levorg in qualifying at Rockingham

Rockingham BTCC: James Cole takes shock maiden career pole

Cole improved to sixth with the first flying lap of his final run in the 30-minute session, but then rocketed to the top of the times and displaced long-time provisional polesitter Jack Goff.

The Team BMR driver's best of 1m23.187s put him 0.048 seconds clear of the rest, and proved enough for a first pole despite Goff returning for one final effort in his Eurotech Honda Civic Type R with two minutes left on the clock.

Cole's pole was also the first for a rear-wheel drive car in the series at Rockingham.

"I did not expect that," said Cole. "We saved all our new tyres for qualifying - that's the reason why.

"I thought if we got everything right we'd be in the top 10.

"Round here it's all about saving your tyres. I've got a front-wheel drive car next to me which is always good."

Like Goff, one place ahead of him, Tom Ingram was unable to improve on his final run in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis and will line up third for Sunday's opening race, alongside Cole's BMR team-mate Ash Sutton.

Sutton said he was pleased to have "everyone I need behind me" in the championship fight on the race one starting grid, having beaten chief rival and current points leader Colin Turkington to fourth.

WSR BMW man Turkington will share the third row with the Ciceley Racing Mercedes A-Class of Adam Morgan, who was less than two tenths away from Cole's pole time and just 0.003s shy of Turkington.

Matt Neal qualified seventh in his factory Honda Civic Type R, ahead of the MG of Josh Cook, Tom Chilton's Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra and the third factory Subaru of Jason Plato.

Gordon Shedden, who sits third in the championship, will start Sunday's opening race from 16th in his Honda Civic Type R.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 James Cole Team BMR Subaru 1m23.187s
2 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 0.048s
3 Tom Ingram Speedworks Motorsport Toyota 0.082s
4 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 0.121s
5 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 0.195s
6 Adam Morgan Ciceley Racing Mercedes 0.198s
7 Matt Neal Dynamics/Honda Honda 0.263s
8 Josh Cook Triple Eight/MG MG 0.295s
9 Tom Chilton Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 0.382s
10 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 0.435s
11 Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 0.467s
12 Josh Price Team BMR Subaru 0.481s
13 Aron Taylor-Smith Triple Eight/MG MG 0.485s
14 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 0.493s
15 Michael Epps Team Hard Volkswagen 0.509s
16 Gordon Shedden Dynamics/Honda Honda 0.512s
17 Dave Newsham BTC Racing Chevrolet 0.518s
18 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 0.550s
19 Ant Whorton-Eales AmD Tuning Audi 0.564s
20 Rob Collard WSR BMW 0.637s
21 Rory Butcher Motorbase Ford 0.674s
22 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 0.742s
23 Rob Austin Handy Motorsport Toyota 0.789s
24 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing Ford 0.814s
25 Chris Smiley BTC Racing Chevrolet 0.825s
26 Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 0.924s
27 Matt Simpson Dynamics/Honda Honda 0.970s
28 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 1.072s
29 Martin Depper Motorbase Ford 1.112s
30 Will Burns Team Hard Volkswagen 1.671s
31 Jake Hill Team Hard Volkswagen 1.796s
32 Stewart Lines Maximum Motorsport Ford 2.333s

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