His car actually finished the session on the back of a recovery truck after breaking down with an electrical glitch but he had already shown his pace.
Jason Plato was the best placed out of the five title contenders taking second place in his BMR VW. He often starts off the weekend lower down only to pop up the order in qualifying but it looks like he intends to be on the pace from the start on a weekend where he needs to beat Gordon Shedden. Shedden himself was down in tenth and was the last of the five title contenders.
Mat Jackson was third in the Motorbase Ford Focus with another title contender, Colin Turkington fourth in his BMR VW CC. Jack Goff’s MG was fifth and the best of the two works MG 6s.
Andy Priaulx was sixth and he has already stated he wants to end the season on a high so don’t expect him to stay out of the way of the championship battle. Matt Neal is seventh, ahead of team mate and fellow title hopeful Shedden but with Shedden better placed to take the championship, expect Neal to take a more supporting role. Andrew Jordan is eighth and will need to qualify higher if he is to keep his very slim chance of the title alive.
Ninth is Aron Smith the third of the VW CC’s. The fourth BMR car, usually driven by team boss Warren Scott is this weekend taken over by Alain Menu after Scott damaged his back in a crash at the previous rounds. Menu had a difficult start with his car not completing a timed lap.
The session was interrupted by a red flag caused by two separate incidents. Jake Hill, who is taking over from Nicolas Hamilton in the AMD Audi A3, hit the barrier at Graham Hill Bend putting him out of the session. Not the start Hill had hoped for as it left him down in twenty sixth. Simon Belcher was the other car needing to be recovered during the red flag after he went into the gravel whilst avoiding a slow moving rob Austin at Sheene.
Josh Cook is a car to keep an eye on this weekend as his Power Maxed Chevrolet is running the new 2016 spec RML built NGTC subframes. It didn’t seem to help him much in the first session though as he was thirteenth behind his team mate Newsham who was eleventh with the old parts.
Full results are on TSL timing By Marc Waller