Austin powers to P1 at Oulton Park
DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing driver Rob Austin has made his mark in the opening BTCC practice session at Oulton Park by setting the pace ahead of Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton.
Alfa star Austin has been busy trying to find the sweet spot in the all-new Giulietta during the opening three events of the 2018 season, and despite scoring a podium in the Brands Hatch curtain raiser, admits that it is the final push that the squad are looking for.
The multiple race-winner has been quick out of the blocks in Cheshire as he clocked a benchmark 1:26.300s lap time, albeit more than eight tenths slower than Jason Plato’s 2015 qualifying lap record.
Ingram – who is recovering from a sickness bug – showed no ill effects by pipping Chilton’s Ford into second, with the latter again showing good form for Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher.
The ballast-free BMW of Andrew Jordan was fourth quickest and the Pirtek-backed racer will be hoping for glory this weekend in order to ignite his championship challenge. Jordan won at Oulton last season so he’s likely to be one to watch as the weekend develops.
Chris Smiley and Matt Simpson were next up in the order – both running in the older shaped Honda Civic Type Rs. A top ten berth is becoming a regular effort for Northern Irishman Smiley, whilst Simpson continues to show progress in the early part of the campaign.
Scotsman Aiden Moffat left is late to set his fastest time, which was good enough for seventh, ahead of WIX Racing with Eurotech’s Brett Smith.
Many are predicting a ‘Colin Turkington Show’ at Oulton Park this weekend with both man and machine often running well at the picturesque venue. The Team BMW legend set a steady pace in ninth, with fellow title challenger Jack Goff rounding out the top ten.
Championship leader Adam Morgan showed how success ballast can take its toll around the twisty and undulating 2.23-mile circuit as the Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport man could only manage 19th, although the top 25 cars were incredibly covered by less than a second.
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Oulton Park
1 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing 1m26.300s
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.101s
3 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.117s
4 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.219s
5 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.245s
6 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +0.251s
7 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.297s
8 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.300s
9 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.367s
10 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.369s
11 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.387s
12 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.396s
13 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +0.397s
14 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.454s
15 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.472s
16 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +0.486s
17 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.489s
18 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.614s
19 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.646s
20 Dan LLOYD (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.679s
21 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.766s
22 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +0.774s
23 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +0.914s
24 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.965s
25 Jake HILL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +1.016s
26 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1.029s
27 Tom BOARDMAN (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1.071s
28 Michael CAINE (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +1.306s
29 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +1.452s
30 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.650s
31 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +2.199s
32 Josh PRICE (GBR) Autoglym Academy Racing +2.752s