Henry Neal Heads Wilson in Final Qualifying of the Year
Team Dynamics Henry Neal took his second pole position of the season for Dunlop Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK. The Honda Civic Type R Fk5, was untouchable throughout the session at Donington Park, as Darelle Wilson continued his spectacular form from Practice to line up alongside him on the front row, as the top TCR driver.
Henry Neal surprised many by going two seconds quicker than the field on his maiden run. It would take ten minutes for any driver to match his benchmark of 1min 11.284, failing to repeat the lap before pitting.
The pair of Morgan’s; Alex and Adam found their pace after an anonymous Free Practice, spending much of the session swapping second place, closing in on Neal’s time. It would not be enough for Alex in the Renault Megane RS, pitting unsuccessfully for another set of Dunlop tyres.
Adam Morgan looked to cause an upset in the closing minutes as the Cupra TCR maxed out at 1min 11.187. It would dislodge Neal from pole, but only for a few seconds as the Honda set a 1min 11.095 to put pole out of reach. Morgan would fail to pick up the five points for TCR pole either as a late lap by Darelle Wilson dropped the BTCC driver to third overall.
Qualifying fourth was Lewis Kent, taking three points out of James Turkington’s championship lead. The Essex & Kent Motorsport driver was struggling throughout qualifying jumping up after a late final lap put him ahead of Alex Morgan’s Renault. Rounding out the third row and the final qualifying points was Nick Halstead in the Honda Civic TCR, unable to repeat his Practice heroics. This left Turkington in seventh, outside of the points for qualifying and leaving him with the work to do come Sunday. Kent goes into Sunday just 16 points behind Turkington.
Behind the bunch of TCR UK runners, TCT continued to provide close competition with Will Neal’s eighth place only 0.644 seconds behind his brother and polesitter Henry. The Team Dynamics driver, racing father Matt’s Honda Civic Type R Fk8, had been as high as fourth and will be thread to the TCR runners tomorrow. Following him was the trio of Team HARD VW Passats, as Darron Lewis was 1.273 seconds off pole in ninth, with Paul Taylor and Josh Coggan just behind.
Continued issues for Richard Woods, saw his session end early. He wasn’t the only one in trouble though, with Josh Coggan spending the first half of the session in the pits. Meanwhile Vauxhall Astra’s driver Stewart Lines had an excursion in his early run, delaying his flying laps. Lines will head Woods on the final row.
Speaking after qualifying;
“I’m pretty stoked with that one. I licked the stamp and sent it. I had a few hairy moments at Craners, but luckily I hung onto the Honda. I wasn’t sure if it’d be enough as I had done a faster time that got taken away for track limits. So I was worried one of the other drivers would smash in a lap at the end, but luckily it stuck, as everyone’s tyres had died off at the end of the session. Thanks to Team Dynamics for giving me such an amazing car.” – Henry Neal
“That was hard work. We came in, changed tyre pressures, and by the end of the first sector I could see I was much quicker. Thanks to all the team, V-Power and the specialists from Germany, can’t believe we managed to do it.” – Darelle Wilson