Jordan strikes first at Thruxton
Andrew Jordan recorded the fastest time in free practice one at Thruxton and the reigning champion believes the longest standing qualifying lap record in the BTCC is a realistic target to aim for later this afternoon.
MG driver Sam Tordoff was the first to punch in a representative time before Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden took over at the top. The Civic Tourer ran extremely well during Shedden’s longer run too, but ultimately it was to be Pirtek Racing’s Jordan that set the pace.
Yvan Muller’s 2002 qualifying time of 1:16.369s has never been bettered, but a buoyant Jordan is confident of challenging the record during qualifying.
“The car felt really good – both in short and longer runs,” said the man from Lichfield after setting a time of 1:16.818s round the flat high-speed aerodrome circuit. “There’s more to come for sure and I think the lap record could be in danger. I expect the usual suspects to be up there and the VWs may also be quick. The aero is so important here and I believe Honda has the best chassis, so I’m looking forward to qualifying.”
Despite an unusually significant gap of more than four tenths of a second separating the top two, Shedden was still pleased with his session in the Tourer. “We focused mainly on a race run but it was quite difficult with so many cars bedding in brakes and scrubbing in tyres – we kept getting held up,” noted the Scotsman. “The car felt good though. We’re still on the edge and that’s not always easy at a place like Thruxton, but I’d much rather have a fast car that we can refine than a slow one!”
The BMW of Colin Turkington completed the top three order, whilst Alain Menu made it four former champions in the top four. Menu won three times at Thruxton during the Super Touring days and with the VW enjoying its best ever round at the same circuit last season in the hands of Tom Onslow-Cole, big things are expected from the Swiss star and his team-mate Aron Smith this weekend.
Irishman Smith endured a rather miserable session, however, with relatively uncompetitive times followed up by a crash late on, which brought a premature end to the session.
Tordoff ended up sixth ahead of the second Civic Tourer of Matt Neal. WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan and Speedworks’ Tom Ingram followed in the time sheets, whilst seven-time Thruxton race winner Fabrizio Giovanardi rounded out the top ten.
Aside to the session ending accident involving Smith, there was also a brief stoppage earlier on when the eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard went off on the outside of turn one.
Free Practice Two gets underway at 12:40 before qualifying commences at 15:55. You can listen to TOCA Radio via btcc.net throughout the day, whilst qualifying will be streamed live at www.itv.com/btcc.