The Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram will take the early advantage into the British Touring Car Championship race day at Thruxton after topping qualifying for the third meeting of the season.
The annual visit of Britain’s biggest motorsport series to its fastest track in Hampshire coincided with the warmest weather conditions yet seen in the 2016 season, and the half-hour qualifying session saw Ingram’s Speedworks Motorsport Avensis vying for pole position with the Halfords Yuasa Honda Civic Type-R of championship leader Matt Neal.
Both drivers were among many to have lap times removed by the stewards for using too much of the kerbing around the 2.4 mile circuit, Neal and Ingram each setting pole position times only to lose them.
Both fought back, Neal going to the top with a 1m 16.247 helped by slipstreaming with his team-mate Gordon Shedden, then Ingram snatching pole back with a 1m 16.161.
This time proved good enough as the track seemed to lose speed in the final 10 minutes of the session, few drivers improving. Neal lost his front-row place, however, after Laser Tools Racing’s Aidan Moffat surprised with a 1m 16.194 in his Mercedes-Benz A-Class to claim the second spot.
The session again saw an impressive performance from the Triple Eight Racing MG6 entries of Josh Cook and rookie Ashley Sutton, the pair lining up behind Neal in fourth and fifth, with the Wix Racing Mercedes of Adam Morgan sixth.
The new for 2016 Subaru squad of Team BMR continued to improve at a circuit where they were expected to struggle for pace. Best of the quartet was 2014 champion Colin Turkington, who put in an impressive lap to improve into 13th spot just as the chequered flag came out.
The first of three 16 lap races is scheduled for 12.12pm on Sunday.