MG’s Josh Cook tops a damp first Practice at the 2016 BTCC finale

Cook on his quick lap (Photo by Marc Waller)

Cook on his quick lap (Photo by Marc Waller)MG Racing’s Josh Cook has topped the times in the first BTCC session of the day here at Brands Hatch on the championship finale weekend.

The cars faced damp to wet conditions with rain falling on and off at various points in the session.

It was Cook’s team mate Ashley Sutton that initially set the pace before conditions worsened slightly meaning that no one could improve their times in the middle of the session. But with the whole field still circulating a dry line emerged later in the session and times then started to tumble.

This put various driver at the top as each set a time better than the last but it was Cook who managed to set the best lap in the end, a 1:40.042. The times were about ten seconds off what could be expected on a completely dry track.

Mat Jackson, one of the title contenders, had a better start to the weekend than he did at the previous round with second in this session.

Rob Austin was third in the Handy Motorsport Toyota, continuing his strong end to the season.

Ollie Jackson, repeated his Practice performance from Silverstone taking fourth overall. His team have the second garages in the pitlane with only WSR in front of them and so far Ollie has put in a front running performance but it remains to be seen if Ollie can maintain his pace for the rest of the weekend. Ollie was happy with his positive start to the weekend;

“That was good, the overall position was a bit of a surprise because of the circumstances but it’s good to see the big changes we made on the car did work. We changed the whole spring damper units in the session and the lads managed to turn it around in just four minutes.

“We haven’t really run the car properly with a wet setup so it was good to get some running. It’s a fantastic circuit, probably my favourite on the calendar.”

Jackson was the best title contender (Photo by Marc Waller) Austin went well once again (Photo by Marc Waller) Turkington missed the top ten but was relaxed about things (Photo by Marc Waller)  




Tom Ingram was fifth at a circuit where he always goes well and he was followed by Team Hard duo Epps and Hill who have a new sponsor this weekend, TAG Industries. Hill was one of the drivers to top the times in the final minutes but was pushed down as the others improved their times. Brands is Hill’s local circuit and he often goes well here so he could well be in the running all weekend.

Adam Morgan of Wix, Championship contender Rob Collard and Eurotech’s Jeff Smith completed the top ten.

The other contenders were perhaps lower down than they would have liked but with practice not counting for anything, it wasn’t a huge issue as Turkington spoke about afterwards;
“It doesn’t make it easy for what’s looking like a dry race one tomorrow, but it’s good to get the eye in with a bit of wet running,” he said afterwards.

“We understand the Subaru now so we can put something on the car that shouldn’t be too far away, but you’re going in a bit blind to some extent. We’ll just do our best. You have to focus on yourself and attack every session one at a time. I’m pleased to be here in with a shout. I’m 37 points back and it is a tall order to close that gap, but it’s the usual game plan of working hard to jump up the leaderboard.”

Free Practice Two is at 12:45 before the final and potentially important qualifying session of the 2016 BTCC season taking place at 15:40. As always qualifying can be watched live online at the ITV website.

Free Practice 1 – Brands Hatch:
1 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance 1m40.042s
2 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.366s
3 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +0.894s
4 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD +1.166s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +1.479s
6 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +2.014s
7 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +2.045s
8 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +2.094s
9 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +2.502s
10 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +2.537s
11 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +2.579s
12 Ash SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +2.863s
13 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +2.896s
14 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +3.072s
15 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +3.319s
16 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +3.742s
17 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +3.755s
18 Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +3.771s
19 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +3.867s
20 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +4.297s
21 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +4.352s
22 Dan WELCH (GBR) Goodestone Racing +4.371s
23 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +4.492s
24 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +4.500s
25 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +4.511s
26 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +4.752s
27 Tony GILHAM (GBR) TLC/RCIB Insurance Racing +4.895s
28 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +5.095s
29 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +5.447s
30 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +5.624s
31 Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +6.389s By Marc Waller


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