Essex and Kent Motorsport driver Lewis Kent topped the timesheets after a tight TCR UK / Dunlop Touring Car Trophy qualifying. The youngster shattered his practice time, setting a 1min 23.309, around the Croft circuit to secure pole for Sunday’s first race.
Dynamic Motorsports Henry Neal had been the man to beat during practice and he was quick to prove this was the case in qualifying immediately snatching the lead in the early stages. As Neal approached his practice benchmark, Donington Park podium finisher Lewis Kent became the first driver to drop below the 1min 24s. His lap of 1min 23.555 proved impossible to beat by the competition, but that didn’t stop the Hyundai i30N TCR from bolting on a new set of tyres and lowering it further in the closing minutes and taking pole.
A late surge from the TCR UK drivers ensured that James Turkington secured second with Sunny Wong in third after a final lap dash. It had initially been Neal in the position, though with the circuit continuing to heat up, benchmark continued to fall, much to the displeasure of Neal who abandoned a late run. Turkington had been held up by Darelle Wilson during his penultimate run, though this didn’t phase the Ciceley Motorsport driver bettering Wong’s time with a 1min 23.667.
Neal could not repeat his practice pace, knowing that he also carries the full weight ballast into the race. He still lines up as the top TCT runner with fellow class driver Alex Day in fifth. Day had struggled to heat up his tyres in the opening few minutes, even making an off track excursion, though finally found his feet in the latter stages, improving to fifth, just 1.5 seconds off the polesitter.
Sadly for Richard Woods, the HSG Motorsport drivers debut did not go as planned. Coming into the weekend Woods had been forced to switch from the Ford Focus to the Cupra TCR. It would only get more troublesome during qualifying, pulling off on the back straight after a snapped drive shaft and a handful of fast laps. His stricken Cupra brought out a red flag with 7 minutes to go, initially qualifying in fifth, though would drop to sixth. His time did beat Wilson who struggled to make headway in the Opel Astra TCR. The DW Racing driver will be hoping for better race pace tomorrow.
Race One starts at 12:10 on Sunday, with the second race 16:15 later that day.