LLOYD SNATCHES LAST-GASP POLE FOR TCR UK OPENER
Daniel Lloyd claimed the inaugural TCR UK Series pole position in wet conditions at Silverstone, posting a late effort of 1:00.845 to end a dramatic session atop the timesheets.
The highly-competitive nature of the new-for-2018 championship was cemented with six brands represented in the top seven grid slots, split by less than a second and a half on the track. A drying line began to emerge in the final minutes of the session, with a flurry of late times turning the starting order on its head.
Aiden Moffat will complete the front row after the Laser Tools Racing driver narrowly missed out by two tenths of a second behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR, with Howard Fuller’s SWR-run Honda Civic TCR similarly denied by Lloyd’s last-gasp achievement.
With less than thirty seconds on the clock, it was Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N that looked to have navigated the tricky conditions on-circuit and secured top spot, but the 18-year old was forced to settle for fourth, just under half a second from pole.
Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor will head up the third row ahead of Carl Swift, who also secured the DSG Trophy bragging rights in the CUPRA TCR courtesy of a sixth-place start. In only his third outing in the Vauxhall Astra, Darrelle Wilson (DW Racing) was classified seventh in front of guest entries Andreas Bӓckman (WestCoast Racing) and Olli Kangas (LMS Racing). Andreas’ sibling Jessica rounds out the top ten starters in the third Volkswagen Golf GTi, with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 and the final CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) completing the field.
Lines will, however, start the final race of the weekend from pole position courtesy of a reversed top ten on the grid, which was initially formed from drivers’ second quickest lap times in qualifying.
Recurring mechanical problems on the second Laser Tools Racing machine of Derek Palmer Jnr prevented the Alfa Romeo driver from setting a lap time, but the team are expected to field both cars as normal in the season-opening double header tomorrow.
Daniel Lloyd (1st): “It was great, mainly because of the conditions and the circumstances. Any pole position is good, but by far it wasn’t an easy one! We put a pair of slick tyres on and went out; we dropped about three seconds a lap and people were coming in and giving up but we stuck it out and it counted when it needed to.
“There are some really quick guys out here racing this weekend, and especially with these conditions mixing things up a bit as well. The aim is to win, that’s what we’re here for and we’ll just see how we get on. I just want to say thank you to WestCoast Racing for making sure we’re always up there as well; I think they did about eight separate tyre changes during that session – they were on form.
“The aim after this weekend is to try and keep going for the remainder of this championship, so it’s important that I continue to perform for the rest of this weekend.”
Aiden Moffat (2nd): “We’ll be giving it everything tomorrow for the win and as long as we’re on the front row, it’s not the end of the world. There’s still quite a bit of ground to be covered with the car but we’re going in the right direction; we’ve got a few more thoughts on that and we’re confident there.
“Everyone at the team has done has a fantastic job so far this weekend and hopefully we’ll be able to kick on from here and bring back some silverware tomorrow.”
Howard Fuller (3rd): “In all honesty, I thought it was all lost with the strategy we went for. From the information we gathered during the warm-up and practice sessions, we had an idea of what we wanted to do for qualifying, which was a gamble and it didn’t work.
“But we dug deep and went for another bold strategy call right at the end there and decided to just go for the slick tyre and we just started to get faster and faster. Unfortunately the chequered flag came out because there was a lot more time on the table for us there, but regardless I’m pleased we’re going to be in the fight tomorrow.
“Ideally I want to get in front tomorrow and drive away with it, but realistically we’ve got to just play the long game. The guys in front of us have been racing regularly in the three years I’ve been away, if we can stay with them and push as hard as we did at the end there, I think we’ll be okay.”