Andrew Jordan will start the first of three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch tomorrow (Sunday) from fifth place, after a hard-charging qualifying session in his WSR-run BMW Pirtek Racing 125i M Sport.
The 28-year old driver from Lichfield, Staffordshire, is aiming for a strong opening-race result to line him up for Race Two – which will be his 300th BTCC start.
WSR, the reigning BTCC Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Champions, worked hard to extract the most out of the new Dunlop tyres in qualifying, as they’d discovered during practice that the 1.2-mile Brands Hatch Indy Circuit now had significantly more grip than during pre-season testing in March – causing the car to feel unbalanced, particularly on new rubber.
Despite this, Jordan improved on his FP1 time in FP2 and was still “in the ball park” on time and feeling quietly confident going into the 30-minute qualifying session.
With precise set-up adjustments made, the 2013 Champion clocked a 48.456s best in qualifying – 0.311s faster than he’d been in practice – to put himself fifth on the grid.
The three 24 lap BTCC races tomorrow start at 11.35, 14.25 and 17.15 and are broadcast live and exclusive on ITV4 in HD.
Andrew Jordan said: “I’m happy with fifth. I struggled a little with the balance this morning, but in qualifying, the BMW felt better and I managed to put in a good lap. It’s nice to have the continuity in the car, and throughout winter testing I’ve felt very comfortable in the car and with the team, so it’s nice to come to the first round at Brands Hatch with some pace. BMW Pirtek Racing have done a great job today – we’ve not been massively off the pace, but we weren’t where we wanted to be earlier today and we’ve worked hard to change that. Although it was qualifying, we still did 19 laps, and that’s not far off race distance. We were giving the car and the tyres a hard time and it still felt strong, so I’m confident we have a good race car. It’s a long season and tomorrow is all about getting points on the board.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Andrew has done a very good job today. He had a few balance issues during practice, but the team have worked exceptionally hard to give him a good car for qualifying. Andrew was pretty happy with his first run in qualifying, so we made a very small adjustment for his second run and we went slightly too far, so he couldn’t improve his time. That’s shows how finely-tuned these cars are and how competitive the BTCC is. It’s on a knife’s edge to get the optimum set-up that will give you the few hundredths of a second that makes the difference around here. We have a good race set up, so we’re hopeful of starting a long season with some good results tomorrow.”