Setting his best time late in the session, the Speedworks Toyota Avensis driver flew round in 50.655, half a second quicker than Honda driver Matt Neal. Although practice sessions aren’t always representative of ultimate pace, Ingram, in a brand new car was always at or near the front.
Behind the top two came a bigger surprise with Josh Cook making his BTCC debut in his Power Maxed Chevrolet Cruze. His team mate, Dave Newsham proved that the team has got pace when he took fifth in the teams other car. Rob Collard was the best of the WSR BMW’s taking fifth in his JCT600 with GardX car. Andy Priaulx was sixth in the sister IHG Rewards club car. It looks like he’s got to grips with the BTCC quicker than he did in DTM. Aron Smith was the fastest of the Team BMR VW’s in sixth just ahead of team boss Warren Scott. Their team mates, Plato and Turkington were down in eleventh and thirteenth respectively. Expect them to be up with their team mates for the qualifying session this afternoon. Hunter Abbott was the best Exocet Alcosense car in ninth with Simon Belcher taking tenth, one of his best results.
The two MG drivers, Andrew Jordan and Jack Goff both suffered from mechanical issues, Jordan not setting a time and Goff down in 23rd. Shedden also ran into car trouble and was last of the timed runners in 26th.
Notable absentees this weekend are Richard Hawken and Dan Welch. Hawken’s Infiniti wasn’t able to be finished in time due to a parts supply issue and Dan Welch has broken his foot.
Derek Palmer debuted the other Infiniti and set the 24th fastest time but both the driver and team are still learning the car so expect improvement. Welch’s team mate Andy Wilmot was yet another driver with car trouble and also set no time.
It’s difficult to judge drivers final pace from this session and we’ll have to wait until qualifying when all drivers will be giving their maximum. Before that second practice is at 12:45 when we’ll get our second chance to see the 2015 Btcc cars on track. There’s a high chance of a wet track with rain forecast around that time.
Full times for this session are available from the championships official timekeeper’s TSL Timing. By Marc Waller