Chris Smiley sets pace in final practice
BTC Racing’s exciting start to the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season continues as Chris Smiley set the pace during final practice at Donington Park.
The majority of the session took place in wet conditions – as was the case in FP1 – and it was the likes of Dan Cammish (Halfords Yuasa Racing) and Ash Sutton (Adrian Flux Subaru Racing) that showed their form around the 1.98-miles of slippery Tarmac.
A dry line appeared in the final five minutes, however, allowing some runners to switch to the Dunlop Sport Maxx dry tyres, and the lap times immediately began to tumble.
Adam Morgan slipped into top spot in the closing moments, before he was then pipped to the post by Smiley’s FK8 Honda Civic Type R as the chequered flag fell.
Smiley’s performance ahead of qualifying again highlights the prowess of the BTC Racing squad which currently leads the Teams’ and Independent Teams’ standings, whilst Morgan is another looking to build on his strong Brands Hatch opener three weeks ago. Morgan’s Mercedes had looked to be struggling in the wet, but the Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport man immediately came alive when the rain cleared.
“At the minute we’re struggling on the wets and we’re not to sure why,” said Morgan. “We changed the geometry of the car over the winter and our usual wet setup isn’t giving us the performance on the tyre that we need. We’re still head-scratching a little bit. It’s not difficult to drive.
“I want it to feel difficult to drive but it feels okay, and in FP1 was two seconds off the pace which was a bit of a slap in the face. I’m confident we’ll be up there in the dry though.”
Rory Butcher claimed a maiden victory at Brands Hatch last time out, and the Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance driver is going well again here at Donington as the Scotsman set the third fastest time, ahead of the impressive Team HARD duo of Jack Goff and Bobby Thompson.
Rob Collard was sixth in the Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall, whilst BTC Racing’s championship leader Josh Cook was seventh.
Ashley Sutton’s Subaru came home ninth, wedged in between the other two VWs of Michael Cress and Carl Boardley. It was a memorable session for the Kent-based Team HARD outfit with all four of its CCs finishing inside the top ten.
Qualifying for Round 4 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at 15:15, with all of the action being streamed live and exclusively via www.itv.com/btcc.
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 2 – Donington Park
1 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing 1m12.622s
2 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.301s
3 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.478s
4 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.712s
5 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +0.819s
6 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +1.160s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +2.226s
8 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +2.521s
9 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +2.807s
10 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +3.416s
11 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +3.552s
12 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +3.573s
13 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +4.366s
14 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +4.446s
15 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +4.588s
16 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +5.068s
17 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +5.390s
18 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +5.984s
19 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +6.033s
20 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +6.087s
21 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +6.232s
22 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +6.415s
23 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +6.504s
24 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +6.563s
25 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +6.582s
26 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase +6.821s
27 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +7.045s
28 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +7.359s
29 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +7.362s
30 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +7.547s