Team BMW's Colin Turkington begins his title defence in the strongest fashion possible after beating his 2019 rival Dan Cammish to claim pole position for Sunday's opening British Touring Car Championship race at Donington Park.

Having already topped both practice sessions, the defending four-time champion completed the perfect Saturday clean sweep by smashing the existing pole position lap record, previously held by Jason Plato, by almost 0.5s to narrowly beat Honda's Cammish by just 0.087s.

Cammish revealed his Team Dynamics outfit had to change the differential of his Honda Civic Type-R prior to qualifying during an ITV interview following the 30-minute shootout.

Turkington featured towards the top of the timesheets for the entire session, but came under severe pressure from a number of runners as the pace intensified the further the 30-minute shootout went on.

Ultimately, Turkington became the first driver to set a lap in the 1 minute 8 barrier [1’08.998s] to clinch a 21st career BTCC pole position.

Just 0.097s separated the top-three runners, with former champion Ashley Sutton setting the third fastest for Laser Tools Racing, aboard the recently re-developed Infiniti Q50.

Sutton set a purple sector during his final flying lap, but the threat of rain ultimately halted his charge. Toyota Gazoo Racing UK's Tom Ingram joins the Infiniti driver on the second row in fourth, after he too briefly led the times earlier in the session.

Tom Oliphant ensured both Team BMW 330i M Sports start the opening race high up the order after qualifying a strong fifth ahead of Motorbase Performance's Rory Butcher in sixth.

For a time, Butcher held provisional pole aboard the brand new Ford Focus ST. But no sooner had the Scot jumped to the top of the timesheets, last year's Jack Sears Trophy winner had a huge moment heading down to the Old Hairpin, which hindered his rhythm.

Jake Hill marked MB Motorsport's first official weekend in the BTCC with a credible seventh place qualifying performance, ahead of fellow Honda runners Josh Cook and Matt Neal in eighth and ninth respectively.

Adam Morgan claimed the final spot in the top-ten, denying Senna Proctor a top-ten result on the Hyundai I30N's first weekend in the championship.

 

 

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