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Matt Neal goes quickest in Brands practice

Honda’s Matt Neal posted the fastest time in the first free practice session for the British Touring Car Championship finale around the Brands Hatch GP circuit, with team-mate Gordon Shedden second fastest.

Neal posted a time of 1:44.510, which was almost half a second faster than team-mate Shedden. By going third fastest Andrew Jordan ensured that the top three positions were locked out by Honda Civic’s on a weekend where the team are running above baseline turbo boost levels for the first time this season.

Jason Plato was fourth fastest in his MG, although the double champion was 1.200 seconds off the pace. However Plato admitted that he hadn’t been pushing for a top time due to the damp conditions experienced at the Kent circuit.

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A surprising fifth fastest was Will Bratt in the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4. Mat Jackson was sixth fastest for the Motorbase-run Redstone Racing team.

Dave Newsham was seventh, ahead of Dan Welch, Árón Smith and an impressive time by Ollie Jackson in 10th. Chris James, the fastest driver through the speed traps, was 11th fastest after enjoying one of his most competitive sessions of the season.

Rob Austin in the newly livereid Wix Racing Audi A4 was 12th, ahead of the top BMW of Rob Collard. All three eBay Motors drivers had a diffficult first practice session, with Nick Foster 15th and Tom Onslow-Cole in a lowly 22nd.

Frank Wrathall was one of two drivers to fail to set a lap time in the opening practice session, with his Dynojet Toyota Avensis suffering from an oil leak in the pitlane. Tony Gilham, racing the Vauxhall Insignia under his own Team HARD banner for the first time, also failed to post a lap time in the 40-minute session.

Second free practice takes place at 11:55.

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