Darren Turner secured pole position for the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship for the second successive season at Knockhill after SEAT secured a 1-2 on the grid for the third race in a row.
Turner, who took two wins at the circuit last season, led the way during the opening practice session of the weekend at the Scottish venue and then emerged as the man to beat in qualifying – setting an early banker lap that proved to be the benchmark his rivals were forced to chase.
Indeed, Turner was able to spend much of the session sitting in the pits with team-mate Jason Plato being the only man to get close to his time although he admitted to being slightly surprised at seeing the diesel-powered Leons securing a lock-out of the front row once again.
“I do like this circuit, it's perfect for touring car racing,” he told Crash.net
. “I know we keep saying it, but the Snetterton test has really allowed us to make a step forward in understanding the car. It means we now travel to a track with some understanding of the car and just need to fine tune things rather than trying to make guesses as to which way to go.
“[However] I am surprised we are on the front row. If you looked at the circuits at the start of the year, you would have chosen tracks where the diesel would be strong and tracks where it wouldn't be – and this is one where we wouldn't have been too confident. However the car has been good and it's actually been better in certain areas than the petrol car – although in other areas it isn't as good.”
Despite securing pole however, Turner admitted that he would be looking to play the team game in the three races, with his own title chances at an end but team-mate Plato currently lying second to defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi in the standings.
“At the end of the day, there is no point in me taking points away from Jason,” he said. “I can't win anything this season as I'm too far behind, so the best thing for SEAT would be for us to finish 1-2 in the opening two races and then see what race three throws at us.”
Turner also said he hoped the mechanical issues to have hit the team in recent events would not rear their head once again, although he did admit that there was some uncertainty over how the two Leon TDis would perform.
“We've worked to solve the issues, both here and in Spain, but there are still question marks as we cant go out and test things on the car – and we can't suddenly go and do 400km of running in a shakedown,” he said. “It is hard to pinpoint what the issue is as there has been some new and some old parts that have caused problems, so it isn't an issue of things on the car being beyond their life-span. However, fingers crossed everything will go to plan.”