Photo: PSP Images

Carl Boardley grabs pole for Knockhill TCR UK opener

CBM with Hart GT’s Carl Boardley will start from pole position for the opening TCR UK race of the weekend, prevailing in a competitive qualifying session at Knockhill.

The Cupra León Competición driver set a best time of 51.457 to beat Jac Constable’s Audi by a fraction over a tenth of a second, with the sister Rob Boston Racing Audi RS 3 LMS of Joe Marshall third despite an off-track moment in the closing stages.

Series points leader Bruce Winfield survived his own trip into the gravel but will start a comparatively lowly ninth for race one, having been inside the top three midway through the session.

Practice pacesetter Adam Shepherd opened the session with the first proper lap, edging Alex Ley’s Area Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR by around a tenth of a second.

Ley’s first effort, however, was only a hundredth off the pace but like several other drivers during the half an hour qualifying, he had his lap-time deleted for track limits infringing at the exit of Clark corner.

Jenson Brickley and Winfield also saw their times removed from the scoring for a similar offence.

That allowed Boardley to move up to the top of the order, beating Shepherd’s Hyundai, which pulled into the pits inside the final three minutes with Shepherd seemingly content with his effort.

The Area Motorsport driver was usurped by Marshall and Ley and will start fifth for race one.

Given the short 1.2-mile nature of the Knockhill circuit, the fight for grid positions outside the top three was intense and tight. Just over a tenth of a second split five cars, with Brickley, Smiley, Marshall, Bradley Kent and Callum Newsham right together.

With gains minimal, a number of drivers also endured off-track excursions, with Shepherd going off into the gravel exiting the Chicane twice in as many laps.

Marshall also found the gravel at the same place on one of his final efforts, while Winfield locked up under braking for the Hairpin and had to be pushed out by marshals.

Constable then improved to second in the dying seconds to move ahead of Marshall and end up just 0.109s in arrears of Boardley.

Outside of the top five, Brickley was sixth after two deleted lap-times, Newsham seventh ahead of Kent and Winfield, while Smiley rounded out the top 10.

Qualifying also set the grid for the third and final race of the weekend, with the second-fastest lap-times counting.

Boardley’s pace was such that he claimed pole for race three, but he will be joined on the front row of the grid by Brickley’s Cupra, with Marshall third.

Newsham will start fourth ahead of Shepherd – who saved a set of tyres by coming into the pits early – while Constable was sixth fastest. Winfield will start ninth again in his Hyundai i30 N TCR.

Race 1 at Knockhill is scheduled to begin at 14:00 local time (15:00 CEST).