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Shedden shades Turkington to snatch Snetterton BTCC pole

Saturday, July 30 2016

Reigning Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden claimed pole position in the frenetic opening moments of qualifying at Snetterton today (Saturday), beating last year's polesitter Colin Turkington by little more than a hundredth of a second.

The session began on a bone-dry track and the rear-drive Subarus were first to post competitive times, although only Jason Plato lapped under two minutes, so there was plenty of room for improvement. As the rest built up speed, Sam Tordoff and Matt Neal both took turns at the top, followed by Ashley Sutton, who was two tenths off last year's pole position time.

Next time round, Shedden, who had a time disallowed for exceeding track limits, smashed last year's pole time with a lap almost half a second quicker. Turkington was determined to reclaim his honour from 2015, but fell short by a mere hundredth of a second, and now Adam Morgan was just a tenth behind.

After the initially flurry of activity was over, attention switched to the pitlane as the drivers prepared for the final push for pole position. Busier than most was the Motorbase team, who were frantically trying to fix Andrew Jordan's power steering. Jordan's former team-mate Martin Depper was also in trouble on the track, pulling off at Riches.

First driver to improve in the second phase of qualifying was Morgan, setting personal best sector times. Although he found almost two tenths, and set the absolute best third sector time, it wasn't quite enough to move him up from third place. On his next lap he beat all in the opening sector, but could not improve in the following two.

Shedden tried hard to move pole position out of contention, locking up on the exit of Coram in the process, but was unable to improve. Next to try was Turkington, but despite a personal best opening sector, was not successful.

The session ended with no further improvements at the top of the order, with the top three of Shedden, Turkington and Morgan separated by three hundredths of a second. It's Honda's first pole position since 2013. Ingram will start from row two, followed by Mat Jackson, and an excellent effort from Hunter Abbott that yielded sixth place. Behind him on row four will start Aron Smith and Sutton, with title contenders Matt Neal and Sam Tordoff ninth and tenth respectively.

Outside the top ten, Plato was 11th, Jack Goff 16th, Rob Collard 18th and Jordan will start at the back of the grid after his mechanics were unable to fix his car in time.

The opening BTCC race of the weekend will take place at 11:32am tomorrow (Sunday).

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying
1, Gordon Shedden, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, 1:55.6272
2, Colin Turkington, Subaru Team BMR, Subaru Levorg GT, +0.015s
3, Adam Morgan, WIX Racing, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, +0.028s
4, Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, +0.382s
5, Mat Jackson, Motorbase, Ford Focus, +0.405s
6, Hunter Abbott, Power Maxed Racing, Chevrolet Cruze, +0.438s
7, Aron Smith, BKR, VW CC, +0.554s
8, Ashley Sutton, MG Racing RCIB Insurance, MG6 GT, +0.579s
9, Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +0.595s
10, Sam Tordoff, Team JCT600 with GuardX, BMW 125i M-Sport, +0.608s

Raceday tickets for the BTCC at Snetterton on Sunday 31 July are available on the gate for £33, with free admission for under-13s. For more information call our sales team on 0843 453 9000 or click here.