Toyota drivers Frank Wrathall and Adam Morgan enjoyed a superbly competitive qualifying at Silverstone this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s penultimate-meeting rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Wrathall qualified third fastest for Dynojet Racing and Morgan ninth for Speedworks Motorsport, with Tony Hughes placing 23rd in his Speedworks Avensis.
All three made useful gains in pace compared with their earlier free practice times: Wrathall found sixth-tenths of a second to set a best lap of 59.059s around the tight 1.6-mile National circuit layout at Silverstone, with Morgan gaining sixth-tenths also to set a best lap of 59.267s.
It’s the fifth time this season that Wrathall has qualified his Avensis inside the top five, and Frank, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday, was delighted: “I’m made up with that. I had a few issues under braking in free practice and we completely sorted those; we changed quite a few things on the Toyota and that made it quite a bit better. There’s really only one corner where we still need to improve, and that’s Luffield. I’m just lacking something mid-corner there which is affecting my run down the start/finish straight. Other than that the Avensis is great. Everyone has done a superb job for me.”
Wrathall ended the session just 0.342s off the MG of pole position man Jason Plato; Frank set his best time, down to the thousandth, on two separate laps.
It’s the third time in his rookie season that Ginetta Scholarship winner Morgan, 23, has qualified inside the BTCC top 10, and the Lancashire man was pleased: “The Toyota feels really good and I’m really happy with it. There are a couple of things that we can tweak still to get a little bit more from it. But I’m really happy with that. It is so close it’s going to be a real battle tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Morgan’s best time was identical to that of BMW driver Tom Onslow-Cole, but the latter set his mark earlier in the session to secure eighth on the grid. Less than a second covered the top 19 cars in the session.
Tony Hughes gained time also during qualifying, finding three-quarters of a second to improve his best lap to 1m 00.422s. “The Avensis feels good here,” said Tony. “I had a few problems with traffic and getting a clear lap in because it’s such a short circuit. I was held up a few times. But on the whole I am pleased with that.”
The first of tomorrow’s three BTCC races is at 1145, live as always on ITV4.