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Gordon Shedden sets pace in Knockhill practice

Gordon Shedden demonstrated his championship determination by setting the pace around a wet Knockhill circuit in the British Touring Car Championship on Saturday morning.

Shedden set a time of 57.120 seconds around the short Knockhill lap in the second half of the session. His time was godo enough to put him 0.381 seconds clear of the early pace setter Tom Chilton in the Team Aon car.

Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal put in a late lap to go third quickest – but more than a second off the Scot’s pace.

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Tom Onslow-Cole also had a strong session, demonstrating the potential in the Team Aon Ford Focus ST. Onslow-Cole had topped the times for the first half of the practice period, until others went faster. He ended up 1.247 seconds off the top time.

The talking point of the morning came when Daniel Welch, in only his and the car’s second weekend in the BTCC, set the fifth fastest time. The NGTC Proton racer had been further down the order until a stunning late lap meant he ended up just 1.471 seconds off the pace.

There were mixed fortunes for the other championship protagonists in the session though. Whilst James Nash managed the sixth fastest time, current championship leader Mat Jackson could only manage seventh. Whilst it is well documented that Jackson has struggled for one lap and qualifying pace this year he will be hoping to improve as the day goes on, knowing the difficulty of overtaking around Knockhill.

Jason Plato had an even worse session – the reigning champion only managing to set the 19th fastest time after completing 9 laps. With clear problems, Plato will be hoping his RML team can sort it all out before second practice takes place at 1210 GMT.

The top Chevrolet in the session was therefore Alex MacDowall who was eighth quickest, ahead of another impressive NGTC showing from Frank Wrathall in ninth.

Top times from FP1:

1. Gordon Shedden – 57.120
2. Tom Chilton – +0.381
3. Matt Neal – +1.064
4. Tom Onslow-Cole – +1.247
5. Daniel Welch – +1.471
6. James Nash – +1.594
7. Mat Jackson – +1.605
8. Alex MacDowall – +1.714
9. Frank Wrathall – +1.798
10. Tom Boardman – +1.832

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