BMW Pirtek Racing made a solid start to the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in a rain-affected qualifying session for the season-opening event at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Driver Andrew Jordan, from Lichfield, will start Sunday’s first race 11th after a pair of red flags and the onset of heavy rain after the midway point left him unable to match the superb form his BMW 125i M Sport had shown in practice.
Having joined 2016 Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Champions WSR for the season, Jordan had set top-three times during the morning and was confident of a repeat performance in qualifying.
However, just as he was setting his personal fastest first sector of the session, light rain intensified and prevented him from continuing his impressive progress through to the end of the lap.
Sunday’s opening race will be the first for 21 years in which BMW are represented in the BTCC as a Manufacturer entrant.
Andrew Jordan: “I’m a bit disappointed to be starting P11, because the BMW is seriously fast and the pace we showed in practice had me confident I’d qualify on the front two rows. I was just a victim of circumstance really. Brands Indy is such a short circuit that you need two laps to heat up the tyres and with the stoppages and the weather today, those who were on-track at the right time had the best results. I set my fastest first sector just as the rain began to fall at the end of the lap, had a big moment at Surtees, so that was that.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Andrew’s practice pace was very encouraging, especially as he’d had very little mileage with our new engine ahead of this weekend. It’s a shame circumstances outside of our control have prevented him from repeating the morning speed in qualifying, but that’s motor racing sometimes. We’re confident he can make some good progress tomorrow and give BMW a strong result on their return to the BTCC as a Manufacturer entrant.”
Wrote By: Mark Beastall