Rob Austin edges out experimental opening practice at Donington Park

Rob Austin edges out experimental opening practice at Donington Park

Rob Austin

Rob Austin edged out Jack Goff in a largely experimental first practice session for this weekends British Touring Car Championship triple header at Donington Park.

The two-time race winner hit the front with a 1:10.113 during the second half of the session as a number of teams chose to dedicate the forty-minute session to scrubbing tyres and experimenting with setup options in the cold track and ambient temperatures.

Jake Hill turned heads with third in the Volkswagen CC, pipping Tom Ingram by a thousandth of a second.

Colin Turkington came fifth as the leading manufacturer entry for Team BMW, though his team-mates Rob Collard and Brands Hatch race-winner Andrew Jordan could only manage 11th and 17th.

Michael Epps cemented Team.HARD’s early weekend form with sixth, whilst Aiden Moffat came seventh, though he was shown a black flag by officials in the closing stages for exceeding track limits. Chris Smiley repeated his Media Day form in eighth.

Another man enjoying a competitive spell, Adam Morgan, took eighth having set the early pace, and Ashley Sutton went some way to curing Subaru’s Brands Hatch woes in tenth. His team-mates finished 24th (Price), 25th (Plato) and 28th (Cole).

Both Josh Cook and Jeff Smith were shown black and white flags, otherwise the session passed free of incident, somewhat surprisingly given the cold temperatures and resurfaced circuit at Redgate, Hollywood and McLeans.

Honda notably hid their pace during FP1, with neither Matt Neal nor defending champion Gordon Shedden electing to set a lap time for two-thirds of the session, and when they did it proved only enough for 12th and 18th respectively.

Motorbase also seemed to struggle in 15th, Mat Jackson two-thirds of a second adrift of Austin’s benchmark, whilst the same could be true of Vauxhall as Senna Proctor failed to set a timed lap.

The session is incredibly unlikely to have any significant bearing as far as weekend form goes, but Rob Austin takes the bragging rights into the second free practice session, which gets underway at 12:25.

Session results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 21 1:10.113 0.000
2 31 Jack GOFF Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 16 1:10.144 0.031
3 24 Jake HILL TAG Racing Volkswagen CC 21 1:10.237 0.124
4 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 21 1:10.275 0.162
5 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 23 1:10.325 0.212
6 12 Mike EPPS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 20 1:10.491 0.378
7 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 19 1:10.573 0.460
8 22 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 21 1:10.576 0.463
9 33 Adam MORGAN Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 24 1:10.640 0.527
10 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 1:10.705 0.592
11 5 M Rob COLLARD Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 21 1:10.784 0.671
12 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 18 1:10.818 0.705
13 2 M Tom CHILTON Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 18 1:10.823 0.710
14 55 Jeff SMITH Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 23 1:10.842 0.729
15 3 Mat JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 21 1:10.890 0.777
16 40 M Árón TAYLOR-SMITH MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 21 1:10.950 0.837
17 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 125i M Sport 23 1:10.953 0.840
18 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 17 1:11.161 1.048
19 48 Ollie JACKSON AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 14 1:11.178 1.065
20 66 Josh COOK Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 19 1:11.279 1.166
21 23 M Daniel LLOYD MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 17 1:11.334 1.221
22 10 Ant WHORTON-EALES AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 23 1:11.428 1.315
23 61 Will BURNS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 14 1:11.469 1.356
24 28 M Josh PRICE BMR Racing Academy Subaru Levorg GT 22 1:11.592 1.479
25 99 M Jason PLATO Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:11.595 1.482
26 7 Stephen JELLEY Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 19 1:11.610 1.497
27 30 Martin DEPPER Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 22 1:11.633 1.520
28 20 M James COLE Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 17 1:11.813 1.700
29 300 Luke DAVENPORT Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 17 1:12.047 1.934
30 17 Dave NEWSHAM BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 13 1:12.695 2.582
31 303 M Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 18 1:13.811 3.698
32 18 M Senna PROCTOR Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 3 No time N/A

Complete session results.