Surprise Subaru on Rockingham BTCC pole

James Cole puts Touring Car title contenders in shade.

Subaru took its third pole position of the season as the British Touring Car Championship arrived at Rockingham Motor Speedway, but the driver of the lead car was a surprise.

James Cole, who plays guitar in a globally-touring rock tribute band when not racing, put his Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT into top spot for the eighth meeting of the BTCC season. His lap of 1min 23.187sec around the 1.94-mile track was 48 thousandths of a second faster than the Eurotech Honda Civic Type R of Jack Goff.

The BTCC title contenders were left in the shade, with the fastest being Cole’s Subaru team-mate Ashley Sutton. Looking to make up a four-point deficit to series leader Colin Turkington, Sutton took fourth grid spot, just behind the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram, who like Sutton had won last time out at Knockhill.

Champion’s struggle

Turkington qualified his Team BMW 125i Sport in fifth to keep himself well in the title hunt, while the reigning champion will have it all to do tomorrow – Gordon Shedden could only manage 16th in his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R, a disaster for his efforts to overcome a 12-point deficit to Turkington.

Also slipping back after getting his season back on track with a win at Knockhill is Jason Plato, his Subaru only setting a time good enough for 10th on the grid. BMW runner Rob Collard, fourth in the points, had an even worse session, mired down in 20th spot.

Plato and Collard will be looking to make up places as the first of three races gets underway at 11.37 on Sunday. Check back to The Car Expert for a full report on Sunday’s action.

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden has it all to do from 16th in his Honda to stay in the title chase. Photo: PSP Images

Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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