Team JCT600 with GardX are ready for a spectacular showdown to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after a frenetic qualifying session at Brands Hatch.
Sam Tordoff, who leads the drivers’ standings with just Sunday’s races remaining, qualified 10th while team-mate Rob Collard – fourth in the points – will start 12th after both held their nerve in tricky driving conditions at the Kent circuit.
An early burst of rain left the legendary 2.6-mile Grand Prix circuit damp and had the entire field scrabbling for grip on slick tyres during the 30-minute session.
Sam, whose WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport was weighed down with 75kg of success ballast, and Rob, carrying 48kg, both made constant improvements during the final third of the session to secure their final grid positions.
WSR can clinch three championships on Sunday with the Sunbury-on-Thames-based organisation leading the constructors’/manufacturers’ standings, Team JCT600 with GardX at the top of the teams’ points table and Sam and Rob both in strong positions to win the eight-way fight for the drivers’ title.
Sam Tordoff said: “I’m pretty pleased with how the session went. With the maximum ballast of 75kg on the car, pole position was never really the aim, but the BMW does carry the weight well and I’m about where I thought I’d be. Gordon Shedden, Matt Neal and, of course, my team-mate Rob, who are my main rivals for the title, are all in the same kind of area too, and it’s pretty perfect that we’ll all be on the same part of the track in Race One tomorrow. We’ve shown on numerous occasions this season that when the weight comes off, we can overtake and I’m sure we’ll need to do a lot of that tomorrow. I’m just going to get a good night’s sleep and take each race as it comes.”
Rob Collard said: “That’s really not too bad, especially considering that qualifying has been my Achilles heel this year. With the track drying towards the end, we knew that the last car on track would probably have the best conditions, so I tactically backed off to make sure I didn’t take the chequered flag too early. I ended up backing off a bit too much, the tyres lost temperature and didn’t quite have the grip I’d expected for the final lap; this cost me some time. The main thing, however, is that all the main title contenders are in the same part of the grid so tomorrow it’s maximum attack and may the best man win.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “That’s the first bit over. Sam’s done an excellent job to qualify in the top 10 with maximum ballast, and it’s a shame for Rob that his gamble at the end didn’t quite pay off as he could perhaps have been a few rows higher up. But when you compare it to some of our recent qualifying results, things look pretty good. Most of the major title contenders are either in and around Sam and Rob, so it will keep things interesting tomorrow. We’re leading all three championships we’re contesting and the aim for tomorrow is to make sure we go home with three trophies. We’ll certainly do everything in our power to make sure that happens.”