OULTON PARK POLE FOR SENNA PROCTOR
BTC Racing star just 0.001s shy of qualifying lap record
Senna Proctor produced a fantastic qualifying lap at Oulton Park today (31 July), as the BTC Racing driver scored his first career pole position in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship.
One of the most exciting qualifying sessions of the season built towards a breathtaking climax, as a number of BTCC’s big hitters chased a front row starting berth for tomorrow’s opening race.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington and Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Gordon Shedden traded blows at the top of the timesheets in the early running, and with seven BTCC Drivers’ titles between them, it seemed as if a duel was developing during the 30-minute session.
It soon became a family affair when Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Rory Butcher joined the party, as the Scotsman pipped brother-in-law Shedden to move into the top spot.
Proctor, however, was at the sharp end throughout and, having set the pace during the recent two-day Goodyear tyre test, the Yorkshireman expertly hauled his stealth-like Honda Civic Type R into pole position – incredibly just 0.001s shy of Jason Plato’s 2015 qualifying lap record.
Shedden responded to jump back in front of Butcher before the finish and Daniel Rowbottom made it three Hondas inside the top four with his own impressive effort.
Jack Goff and Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct continue to catch the eye with their development of the all-new CUPRA Leon. Goff took a first podium for the car last time out at Brands Hatch, and he followed that up by qualifying fifth today, as he looks to keep his run going of scoring points in every round so far.
Adam Morgan grabbed a top six result on home soil as his Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport squad seemingly improves with every event with its new BMW 330i M Sports.
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill was seventh, ahead of Team BMW’s Stephen Jelley.
Turkington had to settle for ninth at the finish, whilst championship leader Ash Sutton completed the top ten positions in his ballast-laden Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50.
EXCELR8 Motorsport endured a dismal session as title contender Tom Ingram failed to set a time due to a mechanical issue, whilst stablemates Chris Smiley and Rick Parfitt both recovered following early incidents on track.
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place at Oulton Park tomorrow with an eager crowd expected at the picturesque Cheshire venue. Those unable to attend will be able to watch all of the action live on ITV4 from 1150.
Senna Proctor said: “After we were P1 here for the tyre test, there was a lot of pressure on me. We slipped down to second before that new tyre run at the end and then I just got the job done. I’m over the moon.
“Pole’s a really weird feeling because you’re so elated that it’s happened, but there’s still set up things to work on for tomorrow, so my mind’s already switched to race one and how to get the best out of it in those conditions.
“We did a race run at the test day, which was really positive, so I know we’re going to be quick and I know you can overthink things, so for me, it’s just going to have to be a case of getting the job done. I did just then in that session, so I’ve proved that I can fight up at the front.”
Gordon Shedden said: “We were strong in the tyre test here and for it to be so close looking at how long the track is and what’s happening out there is incredible! It’s really difficult here because if you fall out of sequence you find people leaving the pit lane and while they don’t get in the way, they do end up being inadvertently where you want to be on the way down Cascades. So there’s a little bit of that, I didn’t really have any problems with it though anyway.
“I thought my lap was okay, it was a little bit loose going through Druids which got my heart up a bit but apart from that it was okay. A front row start and nice clear track in front of us, let’s make the most of it tomorrow.
“Hopefully the car will be strong all the way through. Obviously there’ll be a bit of strategy tomorrow, tyres, all sorts of things. We’ll make the best of it and just see if we can get through all three races as we should.”
Rory Butcher said: “I’m really pleased. It was nice to come out of FP2 and go into qualifying feeling quite confident. We pieced a really good lap together on that second run. For a moment, I thought I had pole but my brother-in-law [Shedden] had to go and ruin it for me and then obviously Proctor did a great job.
“I have to say a big thanks to the team. I’ve struggled to adapt to this Corolla and they’ve been really supportive. The car’s quite different to how it was at the start of the season and I’m getting so much more confidence from it and have started really enjoying driving it. Hopefully we can pull some results out of the bag now!
“I really feel like we made two or three steps forward on race day [at Brands Hatch] and we came away with a fastest lap. For the first time all season, I passed six or seven cars and felt like I was on the attack – it was great. So I felt confident coming here, we had the tyre test which was great as well, two days in the dry and wet. From the word go today we’ve hit the ground running and the car’s just talking my language now, so we’re able to attack. We’ll go back to the drawing board and see if there’s anything else that I can do or the car can do and hopefully challenge [Proctor and Shedden] tomorrow!”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Qualifying – Oulton Park
1 Senna PROCTOR(GBR) BTC Racing 1:25.485
2 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.076s
3 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.087s
4 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.093s
5 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.214s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.217s
7 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.231s
8 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.290s
9 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.310s
10 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.322s
11 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +0.420s
12 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0. 455s
13 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.536s
14 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.559s
15 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.562s
16 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.602s
17 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.604s
18 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.647s
19 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.656s
20 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.731s
21 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +1.125s
22 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +1.136s
23 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +1.234s
24 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1.305s
25 Jack MITCHELL (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +1.369s
26 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +1.516s
27 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +1.769s
28 Andy NEATE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +2.660s
29 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com NO TIME