Dave Newsham was able to secure a place inside the top eight for the opening race of the weekend, but for Adam Morgan, Frank Wrathall and Ollie Jackson it was very much a session to forget with the trio being left with work to do on race day.
Speedworks man Newsham had been the quickest Toyota driver in both free practice sessions and completed a Saturday hat-trick in qualifying. While he all but matched the lap time that had seen him top the times in second practice, the Inverness-based racer had to settle for eighth on the grid. “I did a 1m 22.9s lap on about four occasions, so I really think that is what we had in the car,” he said. “There might have been a few tenths in the Toyota but we’d have made up only one or two places with it. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I think we’ll be right in the mix if it does. Even if it does stay dry, the Avensis has good race pace and I think we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Down at Ciceley Racing, Morgan endured his most challenging qualifying session of the season and will start from 16th on the grid despite being little more than a second off the overall pace. “We thought we’d found something in second practice but it didn’t work as we thought it would,” he reflected. “I also ‘missed the window’ with the tyres and didn’t get a clear lap; I kept finding people in my way. It’s frustrating but it’s just one of those things and we have work to do.”
Adam was three places ahead of Dynojet driver Wrathall, who completed only seven laps in the session before a mistake going into Chapman Curve saw him lose the rear end of his car and spin into the gravel. “I went to turn in to the corner and the back end just hung out a little,” he said. “I got a wheel on the grass and spun before I even got to the corner. The car got beached and that was it. We were quicker than in free practice but, then again, we had a of time to find. There was certainly more to come and we’ll now have to see what we can do on race day.”
Jackson will start the first race of the weekend from 23rd place, saying after qualifying that he didn’t feel comfortable with the way his Toyota felt on track. “I was struggling to get it stopped,” he said. “We’ll have to have a look at the settings as something didn’t feel right. I’ve never had a session like that here before and it’s disappointing as I’m sure I could have gone much quicker.”