Nick Halstead recorded his first ever TCR UK Series pole position, topping the Brands Hatch qualifying session with a time of 56.609 seconds. Driving the Honda Civic TCR, Halstead leads an all-Honda front row, collecting the five points.
The weather had initially cleared up by the afternoon, with drivers choosing varying setups in preparation for the dry line appearing. Nick Halstead continued to surprise the opposition, setting the pace in the opening few minutes, with a 56.609. The Orange Motorsport driver had beaten Henry Neal’s Free Practice topping time from the morning within two laps. This proved to be permanent as the rain returned.
As the skies got darker, Neal proved to be the only driver to continue setting quicker laps, closing to within two tenths of Halstead. Neal though, could not repeat his Practice result, qualifying second for the Team Dynamics Honda Civic, as the highest TCT runner.
Taking a unique approach to qualifying, Stewart Lines had chosen slick front tyres and wet rear tyres. The Series Co-ordinator set a 57.417, lining up third in the Cupra TCR, benefitting from a lack of weight to qualify third. This issue would heavily affect Lewis Kent as the points leader failed to even beat his practice time. He eventually dropped to fifth and will line up one place behind his main rival, James Turkington.
Turkington himself had faced a setback in the opening minutes. After hitting the gravel in Free Practice, he failed to get within 8 seconds of Halstead’s early benchmark after his first run, pitting to reset his car. With eight minutes to run, Turkington, who had initially struggled to drop below the 1 minute mark, surprised the opposition, jumping up to fourth.
The Ciceley Motorsport’s lap proved to be perfectly timed as Alex Day brought out the sessions only red flag, beaching his car at Druids. While the Audi A4 was recovered to the pits, it proved to be the end of his run, qualifying sixth.
DW Racing’s star Darelle Wilson set just one flying lap before heading back to the pits. He would later return to the track, though the rain meant the Opel Astra TCR was unable to better its 58.013. Wilson will start tomorrow’s race from the back row.
“It’s only my second time out in a front wheel drive car, it’s very different to my GT5 racing, so I can’t wait for the race now,” said Halstead. “I haven’t done many launches with this car, so I’ll be glad to get it off the line. I know my dry pace is very competitive, I looked at Dan Lloyd’s pace from last year and I know I’m quick in the dry as well. We’ll see what it’s like tomorrow, if it’s wet, who knows!”