Silverstone BTCC: Motorbase Ford's Tordoff takes first 2018 pole

Motorbase Performance Ford Focus driver Sam Tordoff took his first pole position of his British Touring Car Championship return at Silverstone

Silverstone BTCC: Motorbase Ford's Tordoff takes first 2018 pole

The 2016 championship runner-up, who raced in sportscars last season, banked his lap early on within the first eight minutes of running, and was forced to wait as others tried to knock him off the top spot.

As the major players were beginning their second runs, the red flag flew to collect the stranded Eurotech Racing Honda Civic of Brett Smith, which had ground to a halt.

That left the field with a five-minute dash to improve times, but no one could lower the earlier benchmarks.

Tordoff credited his Motorbase team for turning around his fortunes at Silverstone after he had struggled during the morning's free practice sessions in 20th and 24th.

"I have come close on many occasions before this season, so it was agonising having to wait and see if someone would beat my time," said the 29-year-old.

"I was really down after the free practice sessions because we were nowhere, but the team has really turned it around.

"We have changed everything on the car and left no stone unturned, and we went one second faster this afternoon than this morning, so it is a real credit to the lads and the team."

Tordoff's time was enough to eclipse the earlier benchmark set by Ricky Collard's ballast-free BMW 125i M Sport, which had benefited from a tow from team-mates Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington to set a time just 0.018 seconds adrift.

Series newcomer Collard, only in his third BTCC meeting deputising for his father Rob who has stepped down for health reasons, said he was constantly learning more about the rear-wheel-drive car.

"I am improving all the time, and I have a little bit of experience at this circuit, which is a benefit," said Collard.

"The times are so close and if I have had a shave this morning, I probably would have picked up the 100th of a second or so that I needed for pole.

"My dad is known for his demon starts and I am going to take some lessons from him to prepare for tomorrow. I am very excited."

Tom Chilton, a winner last time out at Knockhill, heads up the second row in another Motorbase Ford, despite carrying 33kg of success ballast into the meeting.

"Previously, I have always known I have a good racecar, but this was the first time that I felt I had a strong qualifying car too," he said. "This has given me high hopes for the race."

Last year's Silverstone pole winner Jack Goff will line up fourth in his Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R ahead of Jordan and Matt Neal in the factory Team Dynamics Honda.

Turkington, leading the points chase coming in to the meeting, could only struggle to 18th in his car laden with 75kg of success ballast.

His main rival Tom Ingram was 19th in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis, which was carrying 66kg of extra lead.

Third in the championship Ash Sutton was 25th of the 31 runners in his Team BMR Subaru Levorg, one place ahead of his team-mate Jason Plato.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Sam Tordoff Motorbase Ford 58.323s -
2 Ricky Collard WSR BMW 58.341s 0.018s
3 Tom Chilton Motorbase Ford 58.370s 0.047s
4 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 58.401s 0.078s
5 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 58.480s 0.157s
6 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 58.490s 0.167s
7 Matt Simpson Simpson Racing Honda 58.493s 0.170s
8 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 58.500s 0.177s
9 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 58.560s 0.237s
10 Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 58.589s 0.266s
11 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 58.597s 0.274s
12 Tom Oliphant Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 58.614s 0.291s
13 Rob Austin HMS Racing Alfa Romeo 58.623s 0.300s
14 Josh Cook Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 58.637s 0.314s
15 Mike Bushell Team Hard Volkswagen 58.637s 0.314s
16 Daniel Lloyd BTC Norlin Honda 58.655s 0.332s
17 James Cole Motorbase Ford 58.678s 0.355s
18 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 58.702s 0.379s
19 Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota 58.709s 0.386s
20 Chris Smiley BTC Norlin Honda 58.717s 0.394s
21 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 58.730s 0.407s
22 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 58.736s 0.413s
23 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 58.781s 0.458s
24 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning MG 58.793s 0.470s
25 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 58.867s 0.544s
26 Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru 58.943s 0.620s
27 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 58.952s 0.629s
28 Sam Smelt AmD Tuning Audi 59.067s 0.744s
29 Ollie Pidgley Team Hard Volkswagen 59.141s 0.818s
30 Josh Caygill AmD Tuning MG 59.609s 1.286s
31 Ethan Hammerton Team Hard Volkswagen 59.844s 1.521s

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Series BTCC
Drivers Sam Tordoff
Teams BTC Racing
Author Matt James
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