Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram has topped the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship free practice session at Rockingham, hauling his ballast-laden Toyota ahead of Rob Austin and Sam Tordoff.
Ingram moved to the standings summit after a storming recovery at Snetterton last time out, which included an outstanding drive from 27th to second in the second race. He followed that up with another podium in the ‘Diamond Double’ and his Independent champion squad is seemingly in fine fettle again this weekend.
“The car felt really good and we’ve been working hard on it since Croft to get it back to where we are now and where we’ve wanted it to be,” said Ingram. “We’ve been working on it from Round 1 and we’re now in a place where things feel really good. It’s hard on tyres here and the weather looks like it may play a part in the mix tomorrow, so we’ve got to make the most of today.
“I’m more than happy in the wet, though. I know we’ve got a good car. It’s really slippy here in the wet but it might do us a bit of a favour with the 75 kilograms of success ballast on board. It might be a bit of an equaliser and lead to a better result.”
Austin left it late to clock his best time in FP1 but the ever-improving DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing Alfa Romeo was good enough to claim second place. Sam Tordoff meanwhile – still sporting his bright pink livery on the Motorbase-run Ford Focus – is looking to continue his run as the highest placed average qualifier this season, and his early pace suggests he should be a contender later this afternoon.
Andrew Jordan was fourth fastest in the BMW Pirtek Racing car, whilst Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan will be looking to bounce back to form after a tricky last few events at Croft and Snetterton. Mercedes man Morgan led the championship going into his home event at Oulton Park back in June, but his fortunes have taken a turn for the worst ever since – fifth place here in the opening practice session will at least be a boost for his confidence.
Mike Bushell was sixth in the Team HARD-run VW, with Sam Smelt’s Audi and Josh Cook’s Vauxhall next on the timesheets. Such is the competitiveness in the BTCC field that eight different marques were represented in the top eight lap times.
Tom Oliphant (Ciceley Motorsport) and Daniel Lloyd (BTC Norlin Racing) rounded out the top ten.
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Rockingham
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport 1m23.284s
2 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +0.048s
3 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +0.059s
4 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.131s
5 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.170s
6 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +0.194s
7 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +0.216s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.221s
9 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.236s
10 Dan LLOYD (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.304s
11 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.364s
12 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.503s
13 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.516s
14 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.612s
15 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.612s
16 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.669s
17 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.740s
18 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +0.771s
19 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.801s
20 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +0.802s
21 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.832s
22 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.835s
23 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.851s
24 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +0.875s
25 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.910s
26 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.975s
27 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.011s
28 Michael CAINE (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +1.204s
29 Ricky COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +1.561s
30 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +2.000s
31 Ollie PIDGLEY (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +2.017s