Ingram leads the way after last gasp flyer
Tom Ingram has set a blistering pace in free practice one at Croft after clocking a last gasp flyer at the North Yorkshire circuit.
A relatively trouble free session was led by Andy Priaulx’s West Surrey Racing BMW for much of the running before Ingram’s Speedworks Toyota hit top gear. Ingram’s penultimate lap included a fastest first sector and the quickest pace through the sector two speed trap but he would have one last chance to improve after crossing the line shortly before the chequered flag waved.
Improve he did as the talented young gun blasted round in 1:24.567s – more than six tenths faster than anyone else.
“It’s always a good way to start the weekend,” said Speedworks’ Team Principal Christian Dick. “Obviously it’s only FP1, but it’s good to be leading from the front. Sometimes if you go quick early on and the car is working well it can be difficult to find areas for improvement, but we’ve still got some work to do to get the balance right on the car. We know everyone will be going quicker and quicker for FP2 and qualifying, so we need to keep moving forward too.”
Ingram’s advantage scuppered what had been an extremely close battle at the top of the order, which saw three drivers separated by just 0.044s. Priaulx eventually held on to second ahead of a fantastic time set by Eurotech’s Martin Depper, whose development continues at an impressive rate in his second season with the team.
Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R claimed fourth with the Scotsman setting his best time shortly after mid-distance, whilst Aron Smith became Team BMR’s top performer with fifth. It’s a rarity not to see a VW in the top four in any session but Smith’s lap was the best the fledgling outfit could come up with as Colin Turkington had to settle for seventh with championship leader Jason Plato languishing down in 15th. Plato was only able to complete eight laps after citing a mechanical problem with his VW CC.
Sandwiched between the stealth like Volkswagens was the WIX Racing Mercedes of Adam Morgan in sixth. His stablemate Aiden Moffat was one of the few drivers to experience some drama during the session as his A-Class returned to the pits with some cosmetic damage to the front end.
Jack Goff’s MG and Matt Neal’s Honda were next up on the timesheets while Jeff Smith rounded out a great session for Eurotech by taking a top ten position.
BTCC’s two debutants performed well, completing 37 laps between them. Nic Hamilton’s Audi ended up 26th, one place ahead of Max Coates’ Infiniti.