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Gordon Shedden top in Knockhill first practice

Gordon Shedden set the fastest time around his local Knockhill circuit this morning, lapping in 53.395 seconds. Some of his closest championship rivals were next up, however, with Tom Chilton second fastest and Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal third. Current championship leader Jason Plato was fourth fastest.

Click here for the full times from first practice.

Shedden was on fine form throughout the session, which took place on a dry track, although Chilton was just 0.131 seconds behind. Once again the Team Aon Ford Focus proved to be the fastest machine through the speed traps on the occasions when it could ‘stretch its legs’, despite Knockhill’s notoriously twisty layout.

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Neal’s time was only 0.168 seconds slower than his team-mate, although even that gap could be difficult to make up due to the short nature of the Scottish circuit. Plato’s fourth fastest time was set whilst carrying the maximum 45kg of success ballast.

Mat Jackson was fifth fastest and the top BMW driver, whilst Andrew Jordan was sixth and a mere one thousandth of a second slower. Jordan has contracted an illness overnight and is struggling in the paddock, and whilst he has been given the OK to drive  by the medical officials is evidently struggling a bit.

Seventh fastest was Alex MacDowall in the second Silverline Chevrolet, whilst Rob Collard was eighth fastest. In the build up to Knockhill Collard was able to sample some alternative wheels when he was given the opportunity to drive a tank by sponsors HM Plant. No doubt he is hoping to be able to go a little quicker in his lighter and faster BMW!

Paul O’Neill, one of only two drivers in the older BTC-Touring spec machinery this weekend, was ninth fastest overall whilst Steven Kane completed the top ten.

Tom Onslow-Cole, currently second overall in the championship, had a difficult session and could only lap 12th fastest after his mechanics spent a significant part of the early session repairing his rear suspension. Added to that he was carrying 36kg of ballast and only able to complete 16 laps.

BTCC debutant Jeff Smith, in a Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra, was 14th fastest in his first ever BTCC practice session. He had a much better time than his team-mate James Nash, who only completed 2 laps before suffering a broken gearbox, therefore finishing the session in last.

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