Aiden Moffat scores first BTCC pole
Aiden Moffat produced the goods in qualifying at Croft to snare a first British Touring Car Championship pole as the Laser Tools Racing man topped the times ahead of the seventh round of the season.
Stephen Jelley had moved onto provisional pole in his BMW before the session was halted for the first time after Rory Butcher’s Toyota ground to a halt on the exit of Sunny having dropped fluid on the circuit – which saw a number of cars behind take trips across the grass as drivers suddenly found themselves with no grip.
The session resumed with 20 minutes remaining, with Jake Hill moving up into provisional pole before Turkington’s charge started; the WSR driver going purple in the first two sectors as he went nearly two-tenths of a second quicker to snare top spot.
Turkington had then gone purple in the opening sector on the next lap but the red flag came out once again to allow Nicolas Hamilton’s Cupra to be recovered after he suffered a spin going into Sunny.
Only ten minutes would then be left when the action got back underway for a second time, with a number of drivers – including Turkington and Hill – coming straight back to swap tyres rather than go straight out chasing a time.
Dan Lloyd was the first driver to improve as he moved up into third spot in his Vauxhall Astra, with Tom Oliphant then jumping up the order in his BMW to take the position – going noticeably quicker than he had done in the earlier practice sessions.
Jake Hill and Sam Osborne both had moments at turn one just before the Hondas of Senna Proctor and Josh Cook improved to move up into second and third, with Moffat’s Infiniti improving up onto the second row of the grid.
Proctor then improved but could only go 0.003s slower than Turkington but behind, Moffat was on a quicker lap still and moved into provisional pole with Hill then going second fastest in the Focus.
Hill promptly went purple in sector one on the next lap but then lost the time in sectors two and three to remain second, just 0,040s down.
As the chequered flag flew, Moffat’s time would prove to be unbeatable as the Laser Tools Racing snared his first BTCC pole ahead of Hill, with Turkington having to settle for third and Proctor snaring fourth.
With the rear-wheel drive cars taking a step forward in the session, Adam Morgan would end up fifth and shares row three of the grid with the similar BMW of Tom Oliphant, with Josh Cook and Ash Sutton following behind; the points leader having to settle for eighth with maximum ballast onboard.
Dan Rowbottom left it late to secure ninth, with the top ten completed by Jason Plato’s Vauxhall Astra.
Further down the order, Gordon Shedden could only manage 17th fastest time – just ahead of practice star Sam Smelt – with Tom Ingram back in 21st and with work to do in his Hyundai.