Max Hart takes dominant TCR UK pole position for Oulton Park opener
Jamsport Racing’s Max Hart extended his TCR UK Series points lead after claiming his first pole position of the season at Oulton Park.
The Irishman, at the wheel of his Hyundai i30 N TCR posted a best time of 1:26.952 to take the top spot from fellow Hyundai driver Alex Ley by nearly half a second, while title rival Lewis Kent could only manage 15th after an early incident.
Hart’s six points for pole position means he now has a 26-point advantage over Race Car Consultants VW driver Isaac Smith, who qualified fifth for the opening race.
Bond-It With MPHR’s Brad Hutchison led the early stages of the 30-minute session which was notable for an off-track moment for Kent, whose Hyundai Veloster N TCR slid off at Cascades, causing damage to the front bumper.
Kent got his car back to the pits but only made it back out in the second half of the session, eventually putting in a time good enough for 15th on the grid, one place behind brother Bradley Kent.
The younger Kent could have twice qualified in the top five, but had two laptimes deleted for track limits infringements. His first, which had been the fastest early on, allowed Hart to assume the top spot while his second – good enough for third – was also chalked off.
Not that it mattered in the end as Hart’s dominance was clear throughout the session. A further improvement with under 10 minutes remaining all but confirmed the pole position time, and Hart didn’t even head back out on track in the closing stages for a final run, such was the margin over Ley.
Behind, the margins were as fine as ever, with just over three tenths of a second splitting Ley in second and Andy Wilmot in ninth.
Making it a Hyundai clean sweep of the top three was free practice pacesetter Adam Shepherd, fitting in just ahead of Power Maxed Racing’s Jac Constable in his Cupra.
Smith was fifth, while Restart Racing’s Chris Smiley hauled his Honda Civic Type R up to sixth on the grid ahead of Callum Newsham’s Power Maxed Cupra.
Jamie Tonks was next up, setting the eighth quickest time, with Wilmot ninth ahead of Hutchison.
Race one at Oulton Park is scheduled to take place later on today at 13:55 BST.