Late effort gives Rory Butcher top time in first Croft practice

Rory Butcher gave Toyota Gazoo Racing UK the top time in the first British Touring Car Championship practice session at Croft, as a late effort denied Team Dynamics’ Gordon Shedden the early bragging rights.

Shedden had posted the fastest lap of the 40-minute session with just under 14 minutes remaining, the Scot putting in a lap of 1 minute 22.403 seconds.

However, in the final seconds, after the chequered flag was waved, it was Butcher who claimed the top spot, going 0.128 seconds faster than his fellow Scot.

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Butcher, 34, had earlier in the week revealed he was in a confident mood for Croft, as he seeks to close in on the title fight.

BTC Racing’s Senna Proctor put his Honda in third, two tenths off the pace, ahead of MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill in fourth. Hill had earlier hit the top of the times just after the halfway stage of the session with his effort of 1:22.511, which the Ford driver didn’t improve on thereafter.

Sam Smelt made it two Toyotas in the top five with his best practice performance of the season, just 0.255 seconds slower than his more experienced team-mate.

Championship contender Josh Cook was sixth in his BTC Racing Honda, ahead of the leading BMW of Tom Oliphant in seventh.

A late improvement from Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton put him in eighth, with the top ten being completed by Team Dynamics’ Daniel Rowbottom and Excelr8 Motorsport’s Tom Ingram, who was the leading Hyundai driver.

Colin Turkington was just 12th in his BMW, almost four tenths off the pace at a circuit which was traditionally been strong for the rear-wheel drive cars.

The top 24 drivers were covered by exactly one second.

Second practice is scheduled to get underway at 12:05 BST.

Session results

POS NO NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 6 Rory BUTCHER Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 17 1:22.275
2 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civic Type-R 19 1:22.403 0.128
3 18 Senna PROCTOR BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 17 1:22.494 0.219
4 24 Jake HILL MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Ford Focus ST 19 1:22.511 0.236
5 23 Sam SMELT Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota Corolla GR Sport 20 1:22.530 0.255
6 66 Josh COOK BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 18 1:22.539 0.264
7 15 Tom OLIPHANT Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 18 1:22.598 0.323
8 1 Ashley SUTTON Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 20 1:22.603 0.328
9 32 Daniel ROWBOTTOM Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civic Type-R 18 1:22.614 0.339
10 80 Tom INGRAM Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 18 1:22.654 0.379
11 3 Tom CHILTON Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330i M Sport 18 1:22.665 0.390
12 2 Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 20 1:22.673 0.398
13 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 21 1:22.675 0.400
14 123 Daniel LLOYD Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 18 1:22.821 0.546
15 22 Chris SMILEY Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 17 1:22.872 0.597
16 12 Stephen JELLEY Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport 19 1:22.959 0.684
17 40 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions CUPRA Leon 19 1:22.966 0.691
18 4 Sam OSBORNE Racing with Wera & Photon Group Ford Focus ST 19 1:23.027 0.752
19 48 Ollie JACKSON MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Ford Focus ST 16 1:23.064 0.789
20 11 Jason PLATO Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 16 1:23.066 0.791
21 41 Carl BOARDLEY Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 17 1:23.121 0.846
22 31 Jack GOFF Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct CUPRA Leon 17 1:23.195 0.920
23 33 Adam MORGAN Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport BMW 330i M Sport 18 1:23.201 0.926
24 19 Jack MITCHELL Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct CUPRA Leon 21 1:23.275 1.000
25 44 Andy NEATE Racing with Wera & Photon Group Ford Focus ST 19 1:23.703 1.428
26 96 Jack BUTEL EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 18 1:24.065 1.790
27 28 Nicolas HAMILTON ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading CUPRA Leon 16 1:24.164 1.889
28 99 Jade EDWARDS PHSC with BTC Racing Honda Civic Type-R 7 1:25.666 3.391
29 42 Nick HALSTEAD EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30 Fastback N 19 1:26.166 3.891
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