Jake Hill made it three consecutive front-row starts for the first time in his British Touring Car Championship career as WSR and BMW enjoyed a strong qualifying day at Thruxton on Saturday.

The Kent racer, who had set the pace in the afternoon practice session aboard his ROKiT MB Motorsport BMW 330e M Sport, put himself second on the grid for the first of tomorrow’s three races at the Hampshire venue.

With Team BMW’s Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley both qualifying well in fourth and 10th, all three WSR drivers have every reason to feel confident heading into Sunday.

Thruxton’s high-speed nature and abrasive surface means it plays to the strengths of the front-wheel-drive cars in the series, rather than the rear-wheel-drive machines.

But the development work performed on the BMW by the WSR technical team over the winter to incorporate the BTCC’s all-new hybrid system has improved the car’s performance at all circuits, resulting in pole positions and victories at each of 2022’s first two events.

Jake took full advantage of this to top the timesheets in afternoon practice and then rocket to the head of the standings midway through qualifying – a spot he would eventually lose in the dying moments by less than eight hundredths of a second.

His second-place result does, however, give him a third consecutive front-row grid spot for the first time in his 176-race BTCC career.

Stablemate Colin had a tougher task as an understeering BMW had left him 15th on the grid with two thirds of the 30-minute session gone.

But a set-up refinement in the pits gave him a final chance to improve his position and the four-time series champion from Northern Ireland did just that to catapult himself into fourth spot with just two minutes remaining.

Leicester racer Stephen was on the pace from the get-go in qualifying and qualified inside the top 10 at Thruxton – one of his least-favourite circuits.

His 10th place on the grid also means he has qualified inside the top 10 at each of the first three rounds for the first time in his BTCC career.

Sunday’s three races will all be broadcast live in HD on ITV4.

Jake Hill said: “I’m so pleased with the result. I’ve never been on the front row in three BTCC events in a row before, and do it in my first three qualifying sessions in the BMW is a great result for ROKiT MB Motorsport and WSR. The pace was good in practice and when it came to qualifying, the key was to maximise things when the car was at its best – which was on my second run. We did that and the front row was the result. To see two BMWs in the top four and all three in the top 10 shows what a great job WSR have done on the car over the winter. It was a shame I was pipped for pole at the end, but the BMW’s strong off the line so I’m sure I can fight for at least one win tomorrow.”

Colin Turkington said: “Fourth is a good place to be for tomorrow and certainly the lap that put me up onto the second row towards the end of the season was well-timed and pretty important. Getting that time was all that mattered, and it has a pretty big impact on what we can look at doing tomorrow. We started off in quite a good place this morning and tried a few things with the set-up, some that worked and some that didn’t, but by the last run in qualifying the BMW felt good and the lap did the trick. I’m confident that I’ll have a good race car tomorrow.”

Stephen Jelley said: “Thruxton’s not my favourite track in a touring car, so to qualify inside the top 10 for the third time in a row – and be there or thereabouts in practice – is pretty good. I’ve started the year with a couple of strong Saturdays followed by Sundays that didn’t bring many points, so the hope is that this weekend can be the opposite. The BMW is a strong race car and I’m sure I can make some progress tomorrow and come away with three solid points finishes that I can use as a springboard into the rest of the season.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “A front-row start, two cars in the top four and all three cars in the top 10… We’d have taken that ahead of the weekend given how Thruxton tends to favour front-wheel-drive cars over rear-wheel-drive. But the chassis has always been a huge plus-point of the BMW and the team at WSR have done an excellent job in adapting the BMW for the hybrid system we’re using this year. We’ve worked well as a team through the day, sharing information across all three cars, and that philosophy has definitely benefitted everyone. We’re definitely looking to deliver some strong results for BMW UK at their home circuit tomorrow.”