Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff set the pace during the opening British Touring Car Championship free practice session at Thruxton.
Goff clocked a quickest time of 1:16.454, three tenths of a second adrift of Tom Ingram’s qualifying lap record from last season, and edged out Ciceley’s Adam Morgan by 0.100 seconds.
The rest of the top ten were split by just over half a second, with Matt Neal third ahead of 2016 Thruxton winner Andrew Jordan and the Subaru Levorg GT of Ashley Sutton.
BTC Norlin’s Chris Smiley was next, with Rob Collard, Matt Simpson, Dave Newsham and Colin Turkington rounding out the fastest ten runners.
It was Turkington who would bring the session to a halt at half-distance, clouting the kerb under braking for the chicane and pulling up a number of TV and audio cables. With the cabling strewn across the entire length of the chicane, officials were forced to halt proceedings to remove the hazard.
Though a number of drivers struggled under braking at the final chicane and cut the inside corner, the session passed otherwise without incident.
View from the Paddock – Damian Meaden
I chose to base myself at the final chicane for this first practice session, a decision that served to highlight some potential plot points over the course of this weekend.
Scarcely a lap went past when the marshal tasked with judging track limits next to me didn’t radio through to the course officials with the phrase ‘A, B’ then the corresponding driver number.
In this case, ‘A’ refers to the inside left-hand corner at the final chicane whereas ‘B’ is the following outside right-hander as the cars accelerate down the main straight.
The marshal in question has been told to radio through if drivers touch either sets of prominent orange markers on each of these corners, unless they make a visible mistake. Given how often drivers were being pulled up during that first practice session, we could have some very frustrated drivers by tomorrow afternoon.
It was also interesting to see the variance in line through the final chicane. The quicker cars certainly took a healthy amount of kerb on entry, whilst others favoured the approach of avoiding them and applying tighter steering through the corner – in the case of Team.HARD’s Volkswagen CC, this certainly led to an amount of rear-end sliding.
The ambient and circuit temperatures were certainly starting to rise by the end of the session so, with Goff only three tenths off the qualifying lap record already, I’m inclined to believe predictions that Dunlop’s new tyre is set to provide us with the fastest lap times yet here at Thruxton.
Free practice two gets underway at 12:35.
|1||31||Jack GOFF||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic Type R||20||1:16.454||0.000|
|2||33||Adam MORGAN||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||21||1:16.554||0.100|
|3||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||16||1:16.588||0.134|
|4||77||M||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||19||1:16.845||0.391|
|5||116||M||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||17||1:16.849||0.395|
|6||22||Chris SMILEY||BTC Norlin Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||19||1:17.144||0.690|
|7||5||M||Rob COLLARD||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||19||1:17.147||0.693|
|8||303||M||Matt SIMPSON||Simpson Racing||Honda Civic Type R||18||1:17.155||0.701|
|9||17||David NEWSHAM||BTC Norlin Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||22||1:17.157||0.703|
|10||4||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||24||1:17.227||0.773|
|11||55||Jeff SMITH||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic Type R||21||1:17.252||0.798|
|12||24||Jake HILL||TAG Racing||Volkswagen CC||20||1:17.319||0.865|
|13||2||M||Tom CHILTON||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||12||1:17.387||0.933|
|14||80||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||19||1:17.394||0.940|
|15||3||Mat JACKSON||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||19||1:17.400||0.946|
|16||52||M||Gordon SHEDDEN||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||13||1:17.496||1.042|
|17||66||Josh COOK||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||Ford Focus||15||1:17.617||1.163|
|18||11||Rob AUSTIN||Handy Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||23||1:17.636||1.182|
|19||18||M||Senna PROCTOR||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||18||1:17.677||1.223|
|20||12||Mike EPPS||Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing||Volkswagen CC||24||1:17.721||1.267|
|21||16||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||20||1:17.781||1.327|
|22||23||M||Daniel LLOYD||MG Racing RCIB Insurance||MG6GT||22||1:17.793||1.339|
|23||7||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||Ford Focus||19||1:17.810||1.356|
|24||48||Ollie JACKSON||AmDtuning.com with CobraExhausts||Audi S3||19||1:17.812||1.358|
|25||300||Luke DAVENPORT||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||19||1:17.861||1.407|
|26||61||Will BURNS||Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing||Volkswagen CC||24||1:17.986||1.532|
|27||99||M||Jason PLATO||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||17||1:18.024||1.570|
|28||10||Ant WHORTON-EALES||AmDtuning.com with CobraExhausts||Audi S3||23||1:18.167||1.713|
|29||40||M||Árón SMITH||MG Racing RCIB Insurance||MG6GT||20||1:18.599||2.145|
|30||30||Martin DEPPER||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||22||1:18.626||2.172|
|31||20||M||James COLE||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||18||1:18.843||2.389|
|28||M||Josh PRICE||BMR Racing Academy||Subaru Levorg GT||17||1:18.931||2.477|