CarStore PMR storm to BTCC pole at Silverstone
CarStore Power Maxed Racing scored a first Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship pole position in four years courtesy of Mikey Doble in a thrilling qualifying session at Silverstone today [23 September].
The Bidford-on-Avon team has historically always run well at the 1.6-mile Northamptonshire venue with the Vauxhall Astra, and were among the front-runners once again in practice, even topping the second session courtesy of Andrew Watson.
That form translated to qualifying, as both Doble and Aron Taylor-Smith comfortably cleared the cut-off for the coveted top-ten shootout after the first 30 minutes of running. The clocks then reset, with 10 minutes to decide a thrilling battle for pole.
When the track went green, BTCC rookie Doble stormed to a 57.599 second lap to score his maiden pole position, and the team’s first since Jason Plato’s timesheet-topping effort at the same venue back in 2019. It also makes CarStore Power Maxed Racing the only team to deny points leaders NAPA Racing UK pole position in 2023.
Perhaps even more remarkable was the 25-year-old’s consistency, as either of his two quickest lap times would have been enough for pole.
Joining Doble at the front of the grid for the first of Sunday’s three races live on ITV4 are several of the championship’s leading lights, with the likes of Colin Turkington, Tom Ingram, Jake Hill and Ash Sutton occupying the spots immediately behind.
Taylor-Smith ended ‘Q2’ a very respectable eighth, the Irishman chasing a second podium in successive meetings, and P12 for Watson puts him in the frame for a strong haul of points on race day.
Doble and Watson will also re-ignite their battle for the Jack Sears Trophy; the latter currently holds the advantage by 14 points, but that could all change if Doble can capitalise on his maiden pole tomorrow.
CarStore Power Maxed Racing also have a golden opportunity to make up ground in both the Independent Drivers and Teams Championships, with the competition further down the order.
Sunday's triple-header of action begins at 11:30, 14:25 and 17:10, with live, free-to-air television coverage on ITV4.
Mikey Doble (#88) said:
“I can’t believe we’ve got pole position! To achieve this, in my rookie season around somewhere like Silverstone is a special moment.
“It’s nice to also be the person to end NAPA Racing’s incredible pole streak. I couldn’t be happier for everybody else who’s involved in this – the team at CarStore Power Maxed Racing, my sponsors, my family.
“It’ll be an experience starting up front tomorrow with Colin Turkington alongside, let’s see what we can do.”
Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager said:
“This is a fantastic result for the whole team, but it’s only half the job, and we’ll have a busy race day tomorrow up front with the big-hitters.
“Mikey put in a tremendous lap. It’s been a really positive day right through from FP1, and we’ve been able to keep chipping away at the car and make a few adjustments here and there to get it in the right window for him to perform.
“All three cars are in and around the top ten for tomorrow, so everything bodes well. A huge congratulations to Mikey on his first pole, and let’s see what we can make from it tomorrow”
Adam Weaver, Team Principal said:
“Silverstone has always been a happy hunting ground for the team, and for the Vauxhall Astra, so it perhaps shouldn’t be as surprising as perhaps it is that we’re up there and in the mix.
“All three drivers drove brilliantly, but of course Mikey deserves a special mention for his maiden pole. To beat most of the championship contenders to pole is no mean feat, and he’s delivered the perfect lap there.
“This is by far our busiest weekend of the year with guests and partners, so it was a fitting way to kick things off, and hopefully we’ll all be able to share in more success tomorrow.”