Tordoff on pole, front-driven cars excel in BTCC qualifying at Thruxton

Sam Tordoff scored pole position for the second time at Thruxton this season, edging Jason Plato in a British Touring Car Championship qualifying shootout dominated by front-wheel-drive competition

Tordoff on pole, front-driven cars excel in BTCC qualifying at Thruxton

The AmD Tuning driver earned his seventh series pole and backed up the form shown in the first visit to the circuit earlier in 2019, during which he broke the qualifying lap record.

An ultimate time of 1m15.876s meant Tordoff was 0.365s shy of his benchmark from earlier this year, but he still topped the times by 0.014s over free practice leader Jason Plato.

Tordoff went quickest early on as the front-wheel-drive cars came to the fore, beating provisional polesitter Adam Morgan who displayed a marked improvement in form following an overhaul to the Ciceley Motorsport engineering team.

Tordoff's team-mate Rory Butcher, currently third in the points, then went fastest overall before the Honda Civic Type Rs were split by the Toyota Corolla of Tom Ingram.

A few spots of rain quietened the session as drivers struggled to improve in any sector, but wind dried the track swiftly.

That allowed WSR driver Tom Oliphant to climb to second, 0.016s off Butcher.

Then, a personal best first and final sector combined with the absolute best second sector promoted Plato to first.

The Vauxhall Astra driver was the first person of the weekend to drop below the 1m15s barrier, as Cammish and Morgan completed an all-new top three.

Tordoff found a further 0.014s with an improved second sector to post his unbeaten 1m15.876s benchmark.

Butcher looked to make it an AmD 1-2 with a session best first sector, but he ran wide during the second sector and could not recover the time.

That left Plato second from Cammish and Morgan, with Josh Cook a late improver from 11th to fifth ahead of Butcher.

Oliphant was the quickest rear-wheel-drive runner as he delivered seventh in his BMW 330i M Sport, ahead of Ingram and Chris Smiley.

Plato's team-mate Rob Collard put the second Power Maxed Racing machine in 10th ahead of points leader Colin Turkington - entering the weekend with the maximum 54kg of success ballast.

Ashley Sutton was 12th ahead of final WSR driver Andrew Jordan - carrying the second heaviest 48kg ballast payload.

The Thruxton session was only the second qualifying of the year not to be interrupted by a red flag, although Matt Neal and Cook had to recover high-speed half spins.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell also tangelled with the MG 6 of Sam Osborne in the closing minutes.

The collision at the chicane resulted in a puncture for Blundell and a left-rear wheel failure for Osborne - they would up 26th and 30th respectively as a result.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Sam Tordoff AmD Tuning Honda 1m15.876s 14
2 Jason Plato Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 0.014s 13
3 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 0.073s 16
4 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 0.119s 10
5 Josh Cook BTC Racing Honda 0.235s 14
6 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning Honda 0.306s 13
7 Tom Oliphant WSR BMW 0.312s 16
8 Tom Ingram Speedworks Motorsport Toyota 0.364s 13
9 Chris Smiley BTC Racing Honda 0.399s 17
10 Rob Collard Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 0.477s 16
11 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 0.484s 17
12 Ash Sutton BMR Racing Subaru 0.486s 18
13 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 0.505s 15
14 Ollie Jackson Motorbase Performance Ford 0.534s 14
15 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 0.553s 15
16 Tom Chilton Motorbase Performance Ford 0.570s 15
17 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 0.615s 16
18 Senna Proctor BMR Racing Subaru 0.647s 16
19 Jack Goff Team Hard Volkswagen 0.679s 13
20 Jake Hill Trade Price Cars Racing Audi 0.721s 13
21 Daniel Rowbottom Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 1.030s 16
22 Matt Simpson Simpson Racing Honda 1.114s 19
23 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 1.195s 15
24 Nicolas Hamilton Motorbase Performance Ford 1.383s 16
25 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Infiniti 1.429s 16
26 Mark Blundell Trade Price Cars Racing Audi 1.748s 13
27 Michael Crees Team Hard Volkswagen 1.961s 10
28 Rob Smith Excelr8 Motorsport MG 2.013s 15
29 Carl Boardley Team Hard Volkswagen 2.082s 15
30 Sam Osborne Excelr8 Motorsport MG 3.146s 14
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Vauxhall driver Jason Plato on top in Thruxton BTCC practice

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