Shedden edges Jordan for Thruxton pole

Gordon Shedden maintained Honda Racing’s qualifying dominance of the British Touring Car Championship by claiming the team’s third pole position in a row by less than a tenth of a second at Thruxton this afternoon.

The Scot, who qualified on pole position at this circuit last year, broke his team-mate Matt Neal’s domination of Saturday qualifying so far this season, and set the early pace in the 30-minute session as he and his Dynamics team-mate Neal initially held a one-two at the top of the timesheets with their first laps.

Eurotech Racing’s Andrew Jordan then moved to the top of the times with an aggressive lap, using all of the road with a lap time of 1m17.066s that saw him go fastest at half distance.

But Shedden didn’t waste time in knocking the Vauxhall driver off the top spot with his next effort of 1m17.004s, a lap time that would last until the end of the session as he took the pole by a mere 0.62s from Jordan.

Neal was another man who returned to the track and improved on his previous best time, but the second Civic finished the session in third place, Neal qualifying just over two tenths of the pace of his team-mate.

Tom Chilton was next up in the Arena Ford, and after being on the pace throughout action all morning and topping the second free practice session he ended this afternoon’s qualifying a full half a second behind Neal, and will start the race alongside him in fourth position.

The session lived up to expectations however as the turbocharged cars produced the pace that was expected of them, the first normally-aspirated car qualifying in fifth place in the hands of Jason Plato, who produced a great lap in the RML Chevrolet Cruze which was still almost a second slower than the pole time.

Tom Onslow-Cole continued to shine as he took AMD Milltek’s Volkwagen’s Golf to a best ever qualifying performance yet with sixth place. He could even have been higher had he not gone off at the dauntingly fast Church corner late in the session, which meant he spent the closing minutes of the session on the sidelines after an overheating problem forced him to stop on track.

Turbo cars filled out the rest of the top 10, with Jeff Smith, Donington race three winner Mat Jackson and Tom Boardman all finishing ahead of the championship leader James Nash who could only manage 10th position.

It was a dissapointing qualifying for the points leader who couldn’t match the frontrunning pace on his first visit to Thruxton in a touring car, not helped by the maximum ballast carried in his Triple Eight Vectra for leading the standings.

Qualifying results:

 1.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                 1m17.004s
2.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Vauxhall     + 0.062s
3.  Matt Neal        Honda                 + 0.213s
4.  Tom Chilton      Arena Ford            + 0.755s
5.  Jason Plato      Chevrolet             + 0.962s
6.  Tom Onslow-Cole  AmD Volkswagen        + 1.118s
7.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Vauxhall     + 1.245s
8.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford        + 1.321s
9.  Tom Boardman     Special Tuning SEAT   + 1.323s
10.  James Nash       Triple 8 Vauxhall     + 1.337s
11.  Alex MacDowall   Chevrolet             + 1.636s
12.  Tony Gilham      Triple 8 Vauxhall     + 1.783s
13.  Paul O’Neill     Tech-Speed Chevrolet    + 1.986s
14.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW           + 2.075s
15.  Andy Neate       Arena Ford             + 2.127s
16.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford          + 2.902s
17.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW              + 3.956s
18.  John George      Tech-Speed Chevrolet    + 4.084s
19.  Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota          + 4.651s
20.  Rob Austin       Rob Austin Audi         + 5.068s
21.  Chris James      ES Chevrolet           + 6.297s


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