Dan Kirby surprised the establishment with pole position in his maiden Dunlop Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK qualifying session. A time of 1:57.206 was good enough for pole around a slippery Oulton Park.
The return to normality of course meant the return of the downpours, as rain covered the Cheshire countryside. It wasn’t what many would have desired, but Kirby was counting his chickens after mastering the 2.6 mile circuit.
Lewis Kent did not compete during the race weekend at Oulton Park last season, though it was his Hyundai who was the one to beat in the initial stages of the session. By the time the red flag was waved, he’d built a two second gap to Darrelle Wilson, with a time of 1:57.598.
Any efforts the rest of the field made to get back at him were quickly cut short by Max Hart. The Irish rookie had made a mistake, slided ungracefully through the gravel and into the barrier. The SEAT Cupra TCR had been fifth in the standings prior to the flag, but all cars back on the grid, it was a lonely sixth place start for Maximum Motorsport driver.
As the session entered the second half, it was Dan Kirby who switched attention to himself after a remarkable lap to knock Kent off top spot. The Essex and Kent Motorsport driver could not improve upon his run in the first half and finished qualifying 0.392 seconds down on the Cupra TCR.
Henry Neal remained in contention for pole throughout, but his time of 1:58.492 put him over a second behind polesitter Kirby. Neal will be expecting better race pace and could still be a threat tot the Kirby, Kent duo come the end of the 25 min encounter. Darelle Wilson will line up fourth in his Vauxhall Astra TCR, while championship returnee Tim Docker had a surprisingly neutral session. The Britcar runner-up will expect a better result later in the day.
Race One is scheduled for 13:45 UK Time.