Ingram draws first blood again in FP1
Just as he did last year, Tom Ingram topped the timesheets as the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship hit the track under bright blue skies at Brands Hatch today.
It was a mixed opening Free Practice for the 22-year-old, though, whose season didn’t get off to the best of starts. Less than 15 minutes into the 40-minute session, Ingram’s Toyota Avensis pulled off the track with a hub issue, prompting the first red flag of the year.
His Speedworks Motorsport team rapidly fixed the problem, however, allowing Ingram to return to action to set the fastest ever touring car lap around the short 1.2-mile Indy Circuit.
“We’d rather have a problem now than in qualifying when it really counts,” he admitted. “It was a good start, but we’re not getting too excited just yet because everyone is still putting miles on their cars. Besides, we were fastest in this session last year! That said, the car felt good and the balance was strong, which is very encouraging.”
In total, six cars lapped under last year’s pole position time, with no fewer than 18 drivers posting efforts within a second of the pace-setting Avensis.
Matt Neal ran Ingram closest in the quickest of the newly orange and black-liveried Honda Civic Type Rs, with last year’s round one winner Rob Collard third in the leading BMW.
Ashley Sutton placed an impressive fourth in his MG6, despite missing the closing part of the session after stopping on-track. Defending champion Gordon Shedden wound up fifth for Halfords Yuasa Racing, ahead of Jack Goff on his rear-wheel drive debut in the Team IHG Rewards Club BMW.
All four Subaru Team BMR cars took to the circuit to clock up vital miles, with two-time title-winner Colin Turkington the fastest of the quartet in 17th, nine tenths-of-a-second adrift of the outright benchmark. The only driver not to leave the pit-lane was BTCC newcomer Michael Epps in the RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis.
Free Practice 2 gets underway at 12.45, followed by Qualifying – which can be watched live on www.itv.com/btcc – at 15.40.
Free Practice 1
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport 48.230s
2 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.087s
3 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +0.115s
4 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +0.132s
5 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +0.141s
6 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.158s
7 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +0.277s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +0.311s
9 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.348s
10 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +0.365s
11 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +0.502s
12 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.581s
13 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +0.681s
14 Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +0.713s
15 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +0.790s
16 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.884s
17 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +0.903s
18 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.955s
19 Andy NEATE (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +1.049s
20 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +1.089s
21 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +1.109s
22 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +1.129s
23 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDTuning.com +1.170s
24 Chris SMILEY (GBR) TLC Racing +1.435s
25 James COLE (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +1.579s
26 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +2.152s
27 Jason PLATO (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +2.267s
28 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +2.604s
29 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +5.140s
30 Daniel WELCH (GBR) Goodstone Racing +11.895s
31 Warren SCOTT (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +12.482s
For full FP1 classification click here.