Qualifying Wrap – The Diamond Double – Snetterton
Jack Goff produced one of the best performances of his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship career so far by taking pole position in both qualifying sessions at Snetterton, following up his earlier effort with a monumental lap record in the ballast-free encounter that sets the grid for tomorrow’s landmark ‘Diamond Double’ race.
The WIX Racing with Eurotech star had been in fine form throughout the day, topping FP2 before taking pole in the opening qualifying session, but it was his breathtaking display in today’s special celebratory qualifying session that will live long in the memory.
Championship leader Colin Turkington was the first to set a benchmark lap but the timing screens were soon lit up during the frenetic 15-minutes of running.
When the dust settled, quite literally around the scorching 2.99-mile Norfolk circuit, it was Goff’s lap time of 1:55.171s that would clinch one of the most prized pole positions in the illustrious 60-year history of the BTCC.
Matt Neal – a three-time champion and a man whose career has spanned across three of those BTCC decades – showed that he still has so much to offer as the most experienced man on the grid took second.
Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher driver Tom Chilton was another joyous character in the pitlane post-session after he grabbed an all-important tow from the Honda of Dan Cammish to secure third on the grid.
Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram pipped Cammish for fourth, whilst Pirtek-backed Andrew Jordan was the first BMW home in sixth.
Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan bounced back to form with seventh, whilst Team BMW’s Turkington had to settle for eighth at the finish. Young guns Brett Smith and Tom Oliphant rounded out the top ten.
WIX Racing with Eurotech had also enjoyed stellar results in the earlier session with Goff taking pole, whilst team-mate Smith claimed fourth.
Matt Simpson – also part of the Eurotech stable – completed the celebrations by taking third, behind Halfords Yuasa Racing rookie Cammish.
Toyota star Ingram was the first non-Honda on the timesheets as the title contender came home fifth ahead of Power Maxed TAG Racing’s Josh Cook. Bath racer Cook bounced back from a difficult start to the day, when unfortunate contact with Vauxhall team-mate Senna Proctor forced him out of the opening practice session.
Rob Austin – sporting a red roof in homage to Alfa Romeo’s glittering past in the BTCC – proved the ever-growing potential of the DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing Alfa by claiming seventh.
Sam Tordoff – despite running his Ford Focus RS in a striking pink livery for the #BTCC60 weekend – had ran under the radar during practice but he hooked things up during the first qualifying segment and will line-up on the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow’s opener. Reigning champion Ash Sutton will start the race ninth for Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, whilst Oliphant completed the top ten in the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes.
The biggest ever Snetterton BTCC crowd is set to be recorded tomorrow as tens of thousands arrive at the Norfolk venue for an historic day of racing. Races 1 and 2 will be run under the normal format before the ‘Diamond Double’ grand finale – a 60-mile, ballast-free and double points contest that is sure to see the BTCC celebrate its 60th anniversary in style.
Jack Goff said: “You wait for one of them and then two come along at once! They’re like London buses! We worked on that thing I mentioned after Qualifying 1 and the boys did a great job. It’s just about trying to find the clear track – we’re all so close in time. With front-wheel drive, you get two runs effectively, and we didn’t have a clean one first time around, so we knew we needed to have a good run second time around. Thankfully, the WIX Racing with Eurotech Honda Civic Type R was on rails!
“The boys and girls have done a massive job to turn the cars around since Croft. I missed the record last year by 0.005 seconds and it’s about making sure you get it all right, and we did that this year. We’ve got a better car still to come underneath us but we didn’t leave anything out there – I gave it everything. We’ve got a point there already, so we’re winning this weekend so far!”
Matt Neal said: “I’m pleased with that and relieved to be honest. We tested here a few weeks ago without the weight on-board but it’s the first time we’ve run without it this weekend. The track’s very different this weekend and it changes the balance of the car. We knew roughly from Dan’s (Cammish) car where we’d be, though. I’ll be doing the opposite of a rain dance now, hoping for the dry. The FK8 is great in the dry but not yet fully dialled in to the wet. We’re starting at the right end though and that’s what it’s all about.”
Tom Chilton said: “It was marvellous. It was actually just my sixth flying lap of the whole day. We had problems with the engine earlier on, and it was my first proper, proper go at it. We changed the engine after Qualifying 1. The team worked absolutely flat out and we got out there – now we’re up there in the running for the big one. I was biting hard on the steering wheel. I’m normally relaxed but I gave it some. I didn’t want to let anyone down. We’ve had some terrible luck today.”
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying 1 – Snetterton
1 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech 1m55.556s (92.49mph)
2 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.074s
3 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +0.170s
4 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.221s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.378s
6 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.499s
7 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +0.540s
8 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +0.593s
9 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.640s
10 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.646s
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying 2 – Snetterton
1 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech 1m55.171s (92.80mph)
2 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.288s
3 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.453s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.478s
5 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.498s
6 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.566s
7 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.591s
8 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.624s
9 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.679s
10 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.791s