Newsham stuns rivals with first BTCC pole positionPosted: March 31, 2012
The Inverness driver – who raced BMW and SEAT machinery last year – proved that the pace he showed to top the pre-season media day test was no fluke, moving to the top of the timesheets very early in the session with a time of 48.483s in his new turbocharged Vauxhall Vectra, one which would never be touched for the rest of the half-hour session.
The West Surrey Racing BMW drivers challenged for the top sopt early on, but it was the experienced Rob Collard that came closest to the top spot, running second for most of the session before being bumped to the second row in the dying seconds.
The man responsible for this was reigning champion Neal, who finally got a handle on the Honda Racing team’s new NGTC Civic to record a front row slot in second place, 0.132s of Nesham’s stellar effort.
Behind Collard, Andrew Jordan continued his fine form in the new Civic for Eurotech, reaching fourth spot on the grid after an early half spin at Surtees, although he was controversially blocked by Newsham’s team-mate Chris James on his last flying lap of the session which lead to an exchange of words on the back straight between the pair.
Tom Onslow-Cole was fifth on his return to the WSR BMW squad, ahead of Jason Plato who punched above his weight somewhat in the MG6 that Triple Eight have had virtually no testing with prior to qualifying.
Behind them were the rapid NGTC regulars Rob Austin (Audi) and Frank Wrathall (Toyota), who were helped by the second Honda of Gordon Shedden having his fifth place time deleted for overstepping Graham Hill Bend track limits. Shedden at least will still start ninth, a consolation after a nightmare start to the day with electrical gremlins.
Nick Foster rounds out the top 10 ahead of Redstone Ford’s Mat Jackson in 11th, and Jeff Smith who recovered from a spin in his Eurotech Honda.
Adam Morgan was a solid 13th on his Speedworks Toyota debut, while further back Ollie Jackson had a spin at Graham Hill Bend, and Andy Neate was a unspectacular 19th in the second Triple Eight MG.
John Thorney’s weekend was ruined by a shunt in first practice however when he nosed his new Vauxhall Insignia into the Paddock Hill Bend tyrewall.
1. Dave Newsham ES Vauxhall 48.483s
2. Matt Neal Dynamics Honda 48.615s + 0.132s
3. Rob Collard WSR BMW 48.698s + 0.215s
4. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda 48.698s + 0.215s
5. Tom Onslow-Cole WSR BMW 48.765s + 0.282s
6. Jason Plato Triple 8 MG 48.868s + 0.385s
7. Rob Austin Austin Audi 48.883s + 0.400s
8. Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 48.963s + 0.480s
9. Gordon Shedden Dynamics Honda 49.022s + 0.539s
10. Nick Foster WSR BMW 49.078s + 0.595s
11. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford 49.100s + 0.617s
12. Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda 49.166s + 0.683s
13. Adam Morgan Speedworks Toyota 49.176s + 0.693s
14. Aron Smith Motorbase Ford 49.257s + 0.774s
15. Lea Wood Wood Vauxhall 49.421s + 0.938s
16. Ollie Jackson AmD Volkswagen 49.604s + 1.121s
17. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford 49.623s + 1.140s
18. Chris James ES Vauxhall 49.861s + 1.378s
19. Andy Neate Triple 8 MG 50.126s + 1.643s
20. Tony Gilham Gilham Honda 50.617s + 2.134s
21. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota 52.301s + 3.818s
22. Daniel Welch Welch Proton 1m02.449s + 13.966s
23. John Thorne Thorney Vauxhall