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Autosport

BTCC Brands Hatch: Turkington heads BMW top four, Sutton struggles

It was an utterly dominant performance on the Indy circuit from Turkington, who destroyed the old qualifying lap record (set by Tom Ingram in a Toyota Avensis in 2016) by almost half a second and recorded no fewer than four laps quicker than anyone else’s best, although the fourth fastest of them was deleted due to a track-limits offence.

Turkington’s West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport ended up a gargantuan – by BTCC Brands Indy standards – 0.167 seconds clear of the sister car of Jake Hill.

Hill sat atop the times at the end of the first runs, but Turkington then lowered the standard considerably on his second stint, and set two more laps quicker than anyone else’s best on his third and final run, while Hill failed to improve.

“I’m so pleased,” said the Northern Irishman. “In free practice you never quite know how things are going – who’s running new tyres, who’s running what amount of hybrid.

“But as usual my car has progressed during the day, and once we put it in quali trim it really came alive.

“The BMW 330 has always been a good car around the Brands Indy circuit. There’s been some resurfacing and it’s a lot grippier, and that helps us.

“In the past at Graham Hill Bend it was difficult getting the front end into the apex, but now it’s really good there and we’ve got a good balance in the high-speed.”

This was the first BTCC qualifying session with hybrid-usage restrictions for the top 10 in the championship – while Turkington was allowed nine seconds per lap, Hill was on 7.5s.

Completing the WSR whitewash was Stephen Jelley, the free-practice topper qualifying third with a time just 0.003s behind Hill, with the full 15s of hybrid deployment.

Hill will start second (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan made an improvement in the last minute to vault his BMW up to fourth on the grid, on 4.5s of hybrid.

That displaced the leading front-wheel-drive car, the BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R of Josh Cook, who also had 4.5s of power boost because he is equal fourth in the points with Morgan.

Championship leader Ingram, with no hybrid usage at all on his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N, was a contender all the way through the session, and only fell out of the top four in the closing stages to finish up sixth.

A last-ditch effort from Ingram resulted in him skimming the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend.

George Gamble (Ciceley BMW) and Dan Cammish (Motorbase Performance Ford Focus) set identical times to form the fourth row, while Rory Butcher got out late after technical problems on his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla and ended up just 0.001s adrift of them.

Dan Rowbottom pipped Team Dynamics Honda stablemate Gordon Shedden for the final spot in the top 10.

Ash Sutton’s tough day continued, the reigning champion making a final-lap improvement that lifted him from 20th to 18th in his Motorbase Ford.

BTCC Brands Hatch Indy qualifying results

Cla Driver Chassis Time
1 United Kingdom Colin Turkington   47.539
2 United Kingdom Jake Hill   47.706
3 United Kingdom Stephen Jelley   47.709
4 United Kingdom Adam Morgan   47.725
5 United Kingdom Josh Cook   47.757
6 United Kingdom Tom Ingram   47.772
7 George Gamble   47.795
8 United Kingdom Dan Cammish   47.795
9 United Kingdom Rory Butcher   47.796
10 United Kingdom Daniel Rowbottom   47.805
11 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden   47.863
12 United Kingdom Tom Chilton   47.866
13 United Kingdom Ash Hand   47.872
14 United Kingdom Ricky Collard   47.901
15 Dexter Patterson   47.921
16 United Kingdom Daniel Lloyd   47.929
17 Michael Crees   47.962
18 United Kingdom Ashley Sutton   47.962
19 Bobby Thompson   48.000
20 United Kingdom Aiden Moffat   48.045
21 United Kingdom Sam Osborne   48.133
22 United Kingdom Jason Plato   48.152
23 United Kingdom Ollie Jackson   48.159
24 Ireland Aron Taylor-Smith   48.304
25 Jade Edwards   48.350
26 Nicolas Hamilton   48.641
27 Jersey Jack Butel   48.978
28 Rick Parfitt Jr.   49.147
29 Australia Will Power   49.183