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BTCC Brands Hatch: Ingram takes crushing pole for finale

Tom Ingram left the Brands Hatch Grand Prix qualifying lap record in smithereens after taking an utterly dominant pole position for the final round of the British Touring Car Championship.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30N

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30N

JEP / Motorsport Images

Ingram took his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N around the challenging track a stunning 0.410 seconds clear of his closest opposition, with all four of his hot laps easily good enough for pole position.

The bonus point for pole means that Ingram, third in the championship and therefore allowed just three seconds of hybrid boost per lap, has closed the gap to pre-weekend table topper Ash Sutton to just six points, with Jake Hill still in between them.

A late red flag with three and a half minutes left on the clock, caused when Tom Chilton parked one of the sister Excelr8 Hyundais on the track on Cooper Straight, triggered a reset to allow five minutes of qualifying after the green flag, but Ingram was already out of his car and in the garage.

“I’ve not got words for how good this car felt today,” said Ingram. “I haven’t got the merest hint of a criticism. “I got on the radio after I did the lap and said, ‘Spence [engineer Spencer Aldridge], this is obscene.’

“Getting a good qualifying is so important – I’m so thrilled to get it done.”

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Rory Butcher, Toyota GAZOO Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Rory Butcher, a winner last time out at Silverstone, again proved to be an interloper among the title contenders by taking the other front row position in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla, using 6s of hybrid boost per lap.

But the Scot only just pipped championship leader Ash Sutton, allowed no hybrid in his Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, by 0.001s, and Sutton will be joined on the second row by team-mate Dan Cammish.

The two went round in tandem early in the session, with Cammish ahead in a bid to assist Sutton with a tow, but the three-time champion had dropped as low as 13th in the order before he went it alone on his second run.

Current championship runner-up Jake Hill (1.5s of hybrid) will line up fifth in his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport – the result meant he clinched the Goodyear Wingfoot Award, for which points are awarded for qualifying position to the same scale as race points, from his only pre-weekend rival, team-mate Colin Turkington.

Turkington, the title outsider in fourth place in the points, made two improvements following the red flag, but dropped from ninth to 10th in the order on 4.5s of hybrid when Josh Cook’s BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R leapfrogged him for ninth.

Bobby Thompson did a terrific job to get in among the championship quartet with sixth in the lead Team Hard Cupra Leon, as did BTCC rookie Dexter Patterson, who has looked spectacular all day in his Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 – especially when he went off at Sheene Curve – and ended up seventh.

That was one spot ahead of eighth-placed Adam Morgan in the lead Ciceley Motorsport BMW.

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