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Gordon Shedden, Matt Neal top Oulton first practice

Gordon Shedden set the fastest time in this morning’s first practice session at Oulton Park, as both Honda’s got off to a flying start. His team-mate Matt Neal was second, 0.386 seconds behind despite carrying the maximum 45kg of success ballast. The emphasis was on race set-up this morning, meaning few teams were going for outright single-lap pace.

Click here for the full first practice times.

Works cars locked out the top four positions as the Chevrolet’s set the third and fourth fastest times, with Jason Plato third, 0.848 seconds off Shedden’s pace, and Alex MacDowall fourth. It was Chevrolet’s strongest practice showing this season so far, as the team benefitted from their recent 25kg weight reduction.

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Andrew Jordan was fifth fastest for Pirtek Racing, just ahead of a resurgent Rob Collard in sixth. Collard will also benefit from a reduction in weight this weekend, losing 10kg, and will also benefit from the removal of his longer first gear restriction which will likely lead to stronger race starts from the BMW driver.

Seventh was Mat Jackson, albeit almost a second off the quickest lap. Tom Chilton was eighth quickest for Team Aon – and his team-mate Andy Neate also put in a strong showing to set the tenth fastest time, his best lap being within a tenth of a second of Chilton’s.

Dave Newsham was 13th quickest in his first session since switching from the rear-wheel drive BMW to the front-wheel drive SEAT at Special Tuning Racing. He is sporting a distinctive yellow and black livery for the rest of the season.

AmD Milltek Racing’s Tom Onslow-Cole could only manage the 18th fastest time – the team suffering from a handling imbalance which limited them to just a handful of true flying laps.

On his return to the BTCC having missed the opening three rounds Lea Wood was 21st and amongst the full NGTC-spec machines. Wood has to carry an extra 50kg of ballast as he is running the last of the ‘BTC-spec’ cars, the Honda Integra, in the BTCC. Despite this he was still over a second faster than the slowest runner, Chris James, who continues to struggle in his S2000-spec Chevrolet Lacetti.

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