Live commentary: BTCC at Donington Park

Live commentary: BTCC at Donington Park

Gordon Shedden

Follow all of the action from practice and qualifying for the second round of the British Touring Car Championship season at Donington Park with our live commentary feed.

Live commentary by Andrew Abbott.

BTCC - April 15 2017

Live broadcasting started on 15/04/2017 08:26 and was finished on 15/04/2017 16:59

  • 16:59 pm
    More reaction will follow throughout the evening and on Sunday morning, so keep checking back for more.
  • 16:58 pm
    That brings to an end our live coverage from Saturday at Donington Park - check back on Sunday for complete live updates from what could prove to be a changeable day - with rain showers forecast that could affect all three races.
  • 15:35 pm

    Qualifying report - Ashley Sutton breaks lap record to secure first Subaru pole position

    https://www.touringcars.net/2017/04/ashley-sutton-breaks-lap-record-secure-first-subaru-pole-position
  • 15:22 pm
    Here are the complete qualifying results from Donington Park - where Ash Sutton has taken pole for the second season in succession:

    https://www.touringcars.net/results/2017/qual4.php
  • 15:19 pm
    The chequered flag comes out and no-one improves. Jeff Smith goes wide on his final lap as he comes accross the line.
  • 15:17 pm
    Rob Austin improves from seventh up to second, a lap of 1:09.514 putting him just 0.102 seconds shy of Sutton. Into the final minute of the session.
  • 15:16 pm
    An improvement for Adam Morgan moves the Mercedes driver up to ninth with a lap of 1:09.907, as Aron Taylor-Smith also improves to P11. Both changes push Colin Turkington down to 12th.
  • 15:15 pm
    The current provisional pole-sitter Ash Sutton has still not left the pits, but leaves the pitlane with 3:30 to go for a last-ditch run to ensure he stays at the top.
  • 15:12 pm
    The green flag comes out for the session to resume, with most drivers going back out.
  • 15:11 pm
    We've also got Matt Neal out of the car and not returning to the session - the Honda driver is currently fifth, but could drop down the order if others improve.
  • 15:10 pm
    Apparently it is not oil on track but rather water, originating from the BMW of Colin Turkington, which will not be returning to the session.
  • 15:06 pm
    It's unclear which car is leaking the oil, but all cars have made it back to the pits nevertheless.
  • 15:05 pm
    There is oil on track at the old hairpin as consequently a number of drivers skate off through the gravel. As a result the session has been red-flagged with just 06:29 left on the clock - which is stopped during the stoppage.
  • 15:04 pm
    Gordon Shedden enters the top ten and goes P6, which is also a good time for the heaviest car on the grid.
  • 15:03 pm
    Rob Austin has now popped up inside the top ten, the Handy Motorsport driver going P7 with a lap of 1:09.869. Ingram pulls into the pits.
  • 15:03 pm
    Ingram had been on for another best lap but he went wide at Coppice into the gravel and ruined the lap.
  • 15:01 pm
    Into the final ten minutes and Tom Ingram improves to go third fastest, with a 1:09.710 - impressive considering the Toyota is carrying the second-most amount of success ballast of 66 kg.
  • 14:58 pm
    Things have quietened down at the mid-point of the session as drivers return to the pits for set-up tweaks and tyre changes.
  • 14:56 pm
    All of the top ten drivers are now into the 1:09s, with BMW's Rob Collard performing well - despite historically having not been a strong qualifier.
  • 14:56 pm
    At the halfway stage the order is as follows:

    1 - Sutton, 2 - Goff, 3 - Hill, 4 - Neal, 5 - Moffat, 6 - Turkington, 7 - Epps, 8 - Ingram, 9 - Chilton, 10 - Collard
  • 14:53 pm
    Tom Chilton has his best time deleted for exceeding track limits - the PMR driver had been sixth, but drops to eighth as a result.
  • 14:52 pm
    Subaru update: Ash Sutton is currently P1, Jason Plato P11, James Cole P25 and Josh Price P28.
  • 14:52 pm
    Jake Hill goes second and true to his word is right in the mix for pole. The Team HARD driver's best lap is a 1:09.737, three tenths off pole. Meanwhile, Jack Goff has just gone second fastest just under three tenths off Sutton's provisional pole.
  • 14:51 pm
    ... But not for long, as Sutton reclaims the pole after having his last lap deleted. Sutton's time is a 1:09.412, which is a new qualifying lap record and impressive for the Subaru, which has been nowhere all weekend until now.
  • 14:50 pm
    So that means Neal's lap of 1:09.848 is the fastest and provisional pole for now.
  • 14:50 pm
    Neal strikes back on his subsequent lap, but now it's Sutton who continues to fly, posting a 1:09.764 for P1 which is the fastest lap of the day. But the lap is immediately deleted as the Subaru driver exceeded the track limits...
  • 14:49 pm
    But the BMWs immediately strike back, as Turkington goes P1 with a 1:09.939 ahead of team-mate Jordan.
  • 14:48 pm
    Matt Neal now takes over at the top of the times, putting in a lap of 1:10.131, ahead of Sutton, Turkington, Jordan and Austin.
  • 14:47 pm
    Sutton puts in a flyer which is a 1:10.188, by far the best lap time we've seen from a Subaru this weekend.
  • 14:47 pm
    As usual it is the rear-wheel drive runners who top the times to begin with, with the top eight cars either being BMWs, Subarus or Mercedes five minutes into the session.
  • 14:46 pm
    Track temperatures are approaching 21 degrees now, which is over five degrees warmer than earlier today - something which should help times to tumble further. We could genuniely see a new qualifying lap record this afternoon.
  • 14:41 pm
    The lights go green and qualifying is underway at Donington Park - just half an hour to decide the grid for race one.
  • 14:41 pm
    BTCC qualifying is about to begin, as we've made up the time from this morning's delays. We can also confirm that Jeff Smith, who chartered a helicopter this weekend to be able to fly to Oulton Park for Mini Challenge qualifying, has made it back to Donington Park in time!
  • 12:31 pm
    It's now the lunch break at Donington Park. Qualifying is scheduled for 15:40 - if there's no delays in the Renault Clio Cup, F4 championship or Ginetta Junior Championship then it should take place at the allocated time.
  • 12:29 pm
    Here's our report with complete results from second BTCC practice - Jack Goff tops second practice as teams prepare for qualifying.

    https://www.touringcars.net/2017/04/jack-goff-tops-second-practice-teams-prepare-qualifying
  • 12:22 pm
    Here are the complete times from a warmer and sunnier second practice session at Donington Park:

    https://www.touringcars.net/results/2017/donprac2.php
  • 12:09 pm
    Jack Goff lights up all three sectors in purple and moves to the top of the timesheets! His time is 1:09.876, and I suspect that was the closest to qualifying trim we've seen an NGTC car all day so far.
  • 12:08 pm
    We're not seeing as many improvements at the moment, although Epps is now up to P6, with seven minutes to go. There are yellow flags in sector one though, as Luke Davenport has spun into the gravel at the Old Hairpin.
  • 12:00 pm
    Personal best for Daniel Lloyd as he jumps up to 7th in the MG. James Cole is currently the highest placed Subaru in 17th.
  • 11:59 am
    Tom Ingram cements the strong pace of the Toyotas by going fastest after 25 minutes, the Speedworks Motorsport driver putting in a time of 1:09.952 ahead of Austin and Neal.
  • 11:58 am
    The qualifying lap record here at Donington Park is a 1:09.460, set by Jason Plato in the MG6 in 2014. We're only half a second away from that time, and nobody is running at full tilt yet. Could today be a record-breaker?
  • 11:58 am
    All four Subaru Levorgs are continuing to struggle, with James Cole currently the fastest in 14th, ahead of Jason Plato (24th), Josh Price (26th) and Ashley Sutton (31st). The team are really struggling with the changes to the car's ride height and weight which were enforced by TOCA ahead of the season opener.
  • 11:56 am
    Scratch that, as it's now Rob Austin who returns to the front of the times, the Handy Motorsport driver putting in a lap of 1:09.978 to demote Neal to second. Elsewhere, Mike Epps is continuing to show strong pace with the sixth-best lap.
  • 11:55 am
    Neal has now gone slightly faster and is the first man into the 1:09s (only just) with a lap of 1:09.999 as the sun comes out at Donington Park.
  • 11:50 am
    Based on the longevity of their current stints, we can probably safely assume Jack Goff, Colin Turkington and James Cole are simulating race runs during this forty minute session.
  • 11:49 am
    Matt Neal hits the front shortly after, improving the fastest time to a 1:10.010 in the Honda Civic Type R.
  • 11:47 am
    Jack Goff hits the top of the times with a lap of 1:10.072, which is already faster than the best lap of all in first practice. After just over ten minutes the top five is Goff, Hill, Morgan, Ingram and Chilton.
  • 11:46 am
    We're hearing that Rob Collard is experiencing some technical issues and is in the pits, whilst Luke Davenport has just had an off at the chicane but has no damage to the Ford Focus and is able to continue.
  • 11:42 am
    We're yet to see any meaningful times almost eight minutes into second practice, with the Subarus currently top of the times almost two seconds off the pace. The track temperature is continuing to rise, with the asphalt currently at 15 degrees. Whilst still cool, it should see times get faster than first practice.
  • 11:37 am
    Second practice is now underway just ten minutes later than originally schedule, 31 of the 32 cars are out on the track.
  • 11:35 am
    Interesting point raised to TouringCars.net by Aron Taylor-Smith earlier: the newer resurfaced areas of track throw a slight curveball in setup as the car responds differently to the older tarmac.
  • 11:35 am
    The 32-strong capacity grid is preparing to head out here at Donington Park for the second free practice session.
  • 11:14 am
    There's also now been a red flag in qualifying for the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup now, which might also have a knock-on effect.
  • 11:13 am
    After first practice, 30th fastest Dave Newsham reported that a number of issues prevented him from setting a competitive time. “We had two turbo issues and a gearbox issue, so we haven’t actually done a flying lap yet," said Newsham to TouringCars.Net. Second practice is scheduled to take place at 12:25, but a red flag in the Porsche qualifying earlier has caused some delays to the schedule.
  • 09:56 am
    Second practice is up at 12:25 BST, with drivers getting their final 40-minutes of on-track preparation time ahead of qualifying at 15:40 BST.
  • 09:55 am
    Fast facts - The qualifying lap record around the Donington Park National circuit is currently held by Jason Plato, who set a time of 1:09.460 in 2014 when at the wheel of an MG6. Today's first practice times are over six tenths off that, although when it warms up later and the drivers are pushing a bit harder, we could see times approaching the record - so long as it stays dry.
  • 09:22 am
    First practice report - Rob Austin edges out experimental opening practice at Donington Park

    https://www.touringcars.net/2017/04/rob-austin-edges-experimental-opening-practice-donington-park
  • 09:15 am
    Here are the complete times from first practice at Donington, with 31 cars having put in competitive lap times:

    https://www.touringcars.net/results/2017/donprac1.php
  • 09:10 am
    The chequered flag comes out and Rob Austin remains on top, ahead of Goff, Hill, Ingram, Turkington, Epps, Moffat, Smiley, Morgan and Sutton.
  • 09:10 am
    Colin Turkington goes even quicker again, moving up to P5 with a time of 1:10.325, just 0.212 seconds off the pace. The BMWs are getting progrsssively faster late in the session.