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Alain Menu tops a VW one-two

Alain Menu topped a truncated opening free practice session at Snetterton, leading stable-mate Jack Goff in his brand new VW CC.

It has been a huge week for Team BMR Restart having moved all four of its drivers over to VW machinery for the first time before going on to announce a four-car junior team attack in the UK Clio Cup from 2015 onwards. The headlines seemingly keep on coming for the fledgling squad as its Swiss superstar Menu set the pace around the Snetterton 300 circuit in greasy conditions.

In truth it was a relatively frustrating session with running being halted after ten minutes when the Audi A3 of Robb Holland stopped on-track and it was eventually cut short when reigning champion Andrew Jordan had an off at Riches with five minutes to go. The Pirtek Racing Honda did sustain damage after making contact with the barrier on the outside of the speedy opening turn and his squad are already hard at work trying to repair the Civic ahead of Free Practice Two.

Further to the stoppages, drivers had to contend with a greasy track following overnight rain with the conditions almost falling in-between wet and slick tyre requirements.

It was Team BMR who got to grips with the challenge better than the rest of the pack but it could have been different for third placed Tom Ingram if the session had continued for another few seconds. Having already recorded a front-running lap time in his Toyota Avensis, Ingram went on to set the fastest overall first sector, a personal best in sector two, before Jordan’s accident scuppered his chances of hitting the top of the timesheets.

Jordan had just set the fourth fastest time before his shunt whilst Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden had also just clocked his first representative lap to move into fifth. It was an encouraging session for United Autosport’s James Cole as he rounded out the top six, although his team-mate Glynn Geddie failed to make an impression after deciding to switch to slick tyres too early.

AMD Ford Focus driver Dave Newsham led for much of the session but had been relegated to seventh when the red flags fell. Rob Austin (Audi A4), Warren Scott (VW CC) and Matt Neal (Honda Civic Tourer) completed a rather new look top ten. Championship leader Colin Turkington failed to set a time, as did two-time champion Jason Plato.

Free Practice Two gets underway at midday with all 31 runners keen to catch up for lost time in the opening session. A full report will be posted here at www.btcc.net, but you can follow the session live on TOCA Radio and via our @DunlopBTCC Twitter account.

Click here for the final classification of Free Practice one at Snetterton