The morning’s action kicked off with two very different sessions for the BTCC drivers at Knockhill. Damp conditions welcomed the cars on to track for the opening session of the day, with most cars heading out on wet tyres. Towards the end of the session some drivers headed out on slicks to post some faster times. Ultimately, it would be Aron Taylor-Smith in his Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing Cupra that would take top spot ahead of Booby Thompson in his Cupra.
By the time Free Practice 2 arrived, the damp conditions had abated and it was time for the whole grid to head out on slick tyres – to offer the first indication of how qualifying might pan out. Topping the times was Ricky Collard as he navigated his Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla to a 51.283s lap time – on his Birthday.
Onto qualifying it was typically a rear-wheel drive precession at the head of the times in the opening stages with BMW, Laster Tools and Ciceley Motorsport all featuring prominently. Indeed, it was eventual pole man, Jake Hill who fired the opening shot of the 30 minute session with a solid 51.207s effort just 7mins into the session. From there the times continued to tumble, until Hill once again improved his time to 50.858s – eyeing the overall qualifying record set by Rory Butcher (50.4s).
As the session progressed, the front-wheel drive cars started to find some form, with Cammish, Sutton, Ingram and Butcher all peppering the top six. With 19-minutes remaining on the clock both Butcher and Moffat were well inside the top ten. Sutton moved to P2 on the timesheets with a 50.932s effort, whilst there were last minute improvements for Turkington and Jelly. Hill maintained a commanding lead at the head of the pack to round out the session 0.206s ahead of the field with his best effort of 50.726s taking pole position.
Butcher and Moffat held on to their top ten status and a superb session, with no hybrid power, saw Tom Ingram – current championship leader – round out the day in P8 on the order. That concludes the BTCC action for the opening day at Knockhill as all attention now moves to the Lokring UK raceday which will see three pulsating Touring Car races take centre stage.
The rear-wheel drive cars are looming ominously, but can the likes of Sutton, Butcher and Ingram find something extra overnight to put them right into the mix for wins and podiums tomorrow.
“I’m thrilled,” commented Hill.
“I love this place so much, it’s just so cool. The drive up, the Scots girls and boys and the Saturday morning sessions are my favourite – just to get the chance to fly through the chicane… it’s awesome. I did a full 360 through there in one of the sessions, just to let the fans know I had arrived and what was in store for the rest of the day.
“We were good in the wet and 2nd in FP2 this morning. To be honest, from the middle of FP2 the car has just felt glued to the track,” concluded the pole man.
Racing action will get underway at 9:05am tomorrow morning with the Michelin Ginetta Juniors kicking off proceedings. The first BTCC action will take place at 12:08pm – with the opening BTCC race of the day. Races two and three will quickly follow at 14:15pm and 17:10pm.
We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow for what will be a bumper raceday with one of our biggest crowds in recent years also on the cards – the atmosphere will be fantastic.
Make sure you join us and book tickets online for a faster, smoother entry. Please leave ample time to get in and out of the venue, we anticipate it will be rather busy. Take a few moments to watch our handy entry guide video so you are fully prepared for your arrival at the track tomorrow.
Until Raceday 😉