Colin Turkington has heaped praise on his Team BMW squad after completing a perfect clean sweep on qualifying day for the opening round of this season's British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park.

Turkington has kicked off his title defence in determined fashion after the reigning four-time champion dominated both practice sessions before pulverising Jason Plato's qualifying lap record by almost 0.5s to record his 21st career BTCC pole.

The Team BMW driver became the first driver to lap under the 1 minute 9 bracket around the National layout of the Donington Park circuit, beating Honda's Dan Cammish and the Infiniti of Ashley Sutton by less than a tenth during a hard fought 30-minute shootout.

“It just feels so good to be back driving in anger. We’ve almost had two pre-seasons but it’s so good to go into a full blooded qualifying session and come out on top, so big credit to Team BMW and the work we’ve been doing," said Turkington.

"I’m very proud of the team, we’ve worked extremely hard over the extended break. It has not been a break for us, we’ve kept preparing and kept trying to get better and the fact that we’ve lowered the lap time from last year, and I was on pole last year and we’ve improved on that, shows how hard we’ve been working. It’s all smiles at Team BMW today."

With only 0.8s could covering the top-16 runners during qualifying, Turkington is mindful of the fight he might have on his hands during tomorrow's opening three races.

"It’s been a really good start for us so I’m looking forward to all of the action again tomorrow. I’m always worried about everybody else, you see how close the times are and it’s just about putting the lap on the table when you can, when you’ve got some track time," the Team BMW driver continued.

"The guys are hot on my heels so it’s not easy by any chance and it’s going to be a scrap tomorrow."

 

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