West Surrey Racing have their tails in the air today as they look to move forward in rounds seven, eight and nine at Thruxton.
Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan extracted the maximum out of their BMW 125i M-Sport’s during a record-breaking session around the Hampshire circuit but were unable to break into the top six.
Finishing as the highest place of the trio, double champion Turkington will line up ninth for the opening 16-lap encounter and is full of confidence regarding the race pace of the rear-wheel-drive machine.
Reflecting on the Saturday, Turkington said: “To be only half a second off pole isn’t particularly bad in terms of the laptime, especially as Thruxton was always going to be a front-wheel-drive circuit in qualifying, and that we’re carrying 57kg of ballast. But I am a bit surprised that there are quite so many cars ahead of the BMW today.
“We can be confident of having a strong car in race conditions, because we always do, and when the weights change for the second and third races, you never know what can happen.”
Despite showing strong pace earlier in the day, 2013 title winner Jordan found himself searching for the sweet spot around what is his favourite circuit. Like Turkington however, the Red Bull athlete is optimistic of moving forward in race trim.
“I have pretty mixed feelings about today [Saturday],” Jordan said. “On the one hand, we’ve taken what we learned here in testing a few weeks ago and improved our knowledge of the new-for-2017 Thruxton tyres and our understanding of how to use them.
“On the other, we haven’t quite found the BMW’s sweet spot around Thruxton yet and the result is we’ve qualified 16th, but I’m sure we’ll make improvements and go into the three races with a stronger package.”
Once again enduring a difficult Saturday, Collard will have to demonstrate his impressive racecraft around his home circuit as he bids to fightback from 18th on the grid.
“It’s been a tough qualifying session today and not what we were expecting,” Collard explained. “We were strong in practice this morning, but perhaps we were lulled into a false sense of security as the front-wheel-drive cars were able to make bigger gains than us as the track rubbered-in.
“On the plus side, we haven’t mastered qualifying at any circuit this year, but it hasn’t stopped us from being on the podium at every round so far, so there’s no reason not to go into tomorrow’s three races in a positive frame of mind.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography