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Tom Ingram heads opening BTCC practice at Brands Hatch

Saturday, April 02 2016

Tom Ingram led the order in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship session of the season at Brands Hatch today (Saturday), heading the Honda, WSR (BMW) and MG teams in the top ten.

As the opening session of the year got underway, Jason Plato's early laps in the new Subaru were promising, and he briefly topped the times as the front-wheel-drive cars got up to speed. When they did, Jake Hill and Mat Jackson broke the 50-second barrier, with times at this early stage within a second of Andy Priaulx's pole lap from last year.

With just over ten minutes of the session completed, Tom Ingram stopped on the track, bringing a temporary halt to proceedings. At the restart Josh Cook, Jack Goff and Matt Neal all lapped under 48 seconds, the latter within hundredths of a second of the 2015 pole. Just as Gordon Shedden bettered his team-mate, Neal responded, beating Priaulx's benchmark.

MG's Ashley Sutton was also lapping competitively, posting the second-fastest time, but then he was forced to pull off the circuit with 15 minutes remaining. This let Rob Collard slip his BMW in between the top two, some good news for the team, as Sam Tordoff was at this point languishing at the back of the field.

In the final ten minutes Ingram popped in a fine lap to top the order, and for a while it seemed as if no-one would better his time. Improving late on was Tordoff, who broke into the top ten, giving him some encouragement for the weekend.

Ingram finished the session on top, just as he did last year, whilst Neal remained in second place from Collard and Sutton. Tordoff improved again to fifth place, ahead of reigning champion Shedden, Goff, Cook, Andrew Jordan and Adam Morgan. Top Subaru was Colin Turkington in 17th place as the team began their setup programme in earnest, and Kelvin Fletcher acclimatised well in his first ever session in a BTCC car - getting down to competitive times before his practice was curtailed with a car issue.

"We just had a slight issue with one of the wheels," said Tom, explaining his session-stopping issue. "But it's all sorted and just one of those things. We were changing it throughout the session as everyone is, and it's two years on the bounce."

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship first practice
1, Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, 48.230s
2, Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +0.087s
3, Rob Collard, Team JCT600 with GuardX, BMW 125i M-Sport, +0.115s
4, Ashley Sutton, MG Racing RCIB Insurance, MG6 GT, +0.132s
5, Sam Tordoff, Team JCT600 with GuardX, BMW 125i M-Sport, +0.141s
6, Gordon Shedden, Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R, +0.158s
7, Jack Goff, Team IHG Rewards Club, BMW 125i M-Sport, +0.277s
8, Josh Cook, MG Racing RCIB Insurance, MG6 GT, +0.311s
9, Andrew Jordan, Motorbase Performance, Ford Focus, +0.348s
10, Adam Morgan, WIX Racing, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, +0.365s

Click here for a full classification. Second practice will take place at 12:45pm.

Tickets for the opening rounds of the BTCC at Brands Hatch on 2/3 April are available on the gate for £15 on Saturday and £33 on Sunday, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.