BTCC Plato heads the times in Thruxton first practice then crashes out

Plato was fastest but then crashed (Photo by Marc Waller)Jason Plato set the fastest time in the opening BTCC practice session here at Thruxton but ended his session in the barriers at the chicane leaving his BMR team with a lot of work to do to get the car back out today.

It’s not currently clear what caused his crash. 

There had been drama before the weekend when it was announced late on Friday, that the Infiniti team have replaced one of their drivers, Richard Hawken. In his place comes former F1 driver Martin Donnelly. Donnelly is most famous for his crash at Jerez in 1990 when his Lotus disintegrated around him, ending his F1 career and very nearly his life. He has been racing in Lotus Cup in recent years. Richard Hawken is reported to be unhappy at his replacements and there may be further developments during today. 

Behind Plato in the standings came Andy Priaulx in his BMW who said he was enjoying Thruxton and was only 0.068 seconds off Plato’s time. Colin Turkington was next up in the second of the BMR VW’s. Gordon Shedden was fourth in the Honda Civic Type R at a track where his team often go well. 

Fifth was Adam Morgan’s Wix Racing Mercedes, just ahead of Rob Collard in the second of the BMW’s on the grid. It’s Collard’s home circuit as he lives only a few miles up the road so he’ll be especially pumped up to get a good result. Seventh was Andrew Jordan, he’ll be hoping to go for pole later and so will need to find a few more fractions of a second. 

Aron Smith took eighth in the third of the BMR VW’s, not quite able to match the times of his two championship winning team mates. Ninth was Matt Neal slightly off Shedden’s best time. Completing the top ten was Dave Newsham, just over a second off the fastest time and in front of his quick young team mate Josh Cook. 

Twenty eight cars took part in the session with Dextra Racing’s Alex Martin missing the weekend as he has injured his wrist. 

Full times are available from TSL TimingMarc Waller

Priaulx was enjoying himself (Photo by Marc Waller) Tordoff struggled and was only 17th (Photo by Marc Waller) Shedden was flying but couldnt make the best time (Photo by Marc Waller) Goff was off the pace and down in sixteenth (Photo by Marc Waller) Turkington was not far off Plato (Photo by Marc Waller) Neal made the top ten but couldnt match Shedden (Photo by Marc Waller) Morgan is in the top ten as usual (Photo by Marc Waller)

 Martin Donnelly takes over Richard Hawkens Infiniti (Photo by Marc Waller) Jordan isnt as fast as he would like (Photo by Marc Waller)

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