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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ingram takes first pole of 2024

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After a 2023 season of domination by the Alliance-run NAPA Racing Fords, Ingram and his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N considerably emerged on prime of the one qualifying session of the season the place everyone seems to be on equal increase, for his first pole since his 2022 title-clinching weekend at Manufacturers Hatch.

Reigning champion Ash Sutton, looking for a record-breaking fifth title, was the principle rival to Ingram, and fell simply 0.051 seconds quick on the wheel of his Focus ST.

“I’ll have performed it a bit secure, as a result of it was necessary to get a lap right here – then I had a cooldown after which the rain got here,” defined Sutton.

Ingram was predictably delighted together with his pole.

“It’s a winter of onerous work to try to enhance the automobile,” he stated. “We’ve come out completely combating to start out as we imply to go on.

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“I felt good in regards to the weekend, and it’s gone completely to plan.”

This was the debut of the BTCC’s new-for-2024 three-phase qualifying format, modelled on the IndyCar system.

Rain threw a large curveball into this, with Ingram having to modify to wet-weather Goodyears in his preliminary group to go quickest, after which Sutton simply squeaking into the top-six cutoff on the ultimate lap of his group, the place it dried out and Colin Turkington went quickest on slicks.

Colin Turkington, Group BMW

Photograph by: JEP

The monitor stayed largely dry from then on, with Sutton topping Q2 by 0.079s from Ingram, after a late red-flag stoppage following a shunt on the {Old} Hairpin for Sutton’s team-mate Sam Osborne.

Turkington and Jake Hill, his team-mate within the West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport squad, have been third and fourth in Q2, and repeated the trick within the ultimate top-six shootout.

The supporting forged to the BTCC’s class quartet of current seasons was performed by Ingram’s team-mate Ronan Pearson and the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla of Andrew Watson, who each did a high-quality job to make the ultimate six, with Pearson beating Watson to fifth.

Aron Taylor-Smith missed the lower to make it by way of from Q2 by simply 0.003s in his Energy Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, so the Irishman will line up seventh forward of Josh {Cook}’s Speedworks Toyota.

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One of many stars of qualifying was Daryl DeLeon, who with nearly as good as no testing mileage made it by way of to ninth with the Cupra Leon of Limitless Motorsport, with Mikey Doble (PMR Vauxhall) becoming a member of him on the fifth row.

Osborne and Chris Smiley (Restart Racing Cupra) have been the others to make it to Q2.

Among the many high-profile scalps claimed in Q1 have been Alliance Ford pair Dan Cammish and Dan Rowbottom, neither of whom obtained out on the appropriate tyres on the proper time, the WSR BMW of Adam Morgan, and Rob Huff together with his Speedworks Toyota.

Huff was blocked in pitlane by the imposing determine of BTCC tech supremo Sam Riches as a result of the crew didn’t have the automobile on its pit apron at first of the session, after repairing injury sustained in FP2.

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