Jordan on record pace
Andrew Jordan has set the benchmark in both free practice sessions at Thruxton today, backing up his early pace with an incredibly fast time in FP2. The Pirtek Racing Honda Civic lapped the 2.36 mile track in a time of 1:16.314s – under the qualifying lap record set by Yvan Muller back in 2002.
The reigning champion flew out of the blocks, posting his fastest time on just his fourth tour of the track. “Well if that lap beat Yvan Muller’s record then I’d better do it in qualifying as well then,” said Jordan. “It’s only free practice and I imagine qualifying will be as close as ever so we’ve still got some time to find.
“A qualifying lap at Thruxton is full balls out. You tense up as a driver quite a lot round here as you’re always on the edge. Races are won tomorrow of course but as a driver and for the engineers it’s always the real challenge and a great feeling when you get in right in qualifying. Things happen outside of your control in races but qualifying feels like the time where you and the team can make all the difference, so bring it on this afternoon.”
It was a one-two-three for the Honda marque, with the two Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourers of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal second and third fastest respectively. Shedden was the only other driver to drop into the 1:16s, but still found himself almost half a second down on Jordan.
There was then a sizable gap to the nearest non-Honda, as both the well-proven hatchback and new-for-2014 Tourer seem well suited to the high-speed Thruxton tarmac. It was MG’s Sam Tordoff heading up the rest of the field – 0.413s from Matt Neal and over a second down on Jordan’s fastest time.
Tordoff’s MG team-mate Jason Plato was on a fast lap with seven minutes remaining in the session, but a red flag brought out by a turn one crash by Colin Turkington put paid to his advances up the time sheets. The double champion ended the session down in 17th. Plato said, “We’re just running a different programme so there’s no cause for concern. We needed to treat practice as a test session as we haven’t been here pre-season like some of the other teams. I haven’t put any tyres on yet as we’re still working on race pace. I don’t know how we’re going to get to Jordan’s time – we might do but I simply don’t know as we haven’t had a real run at it.
“It’s critical that you get things feeling right for tomorrow and like I say we had to get through our testing programme today, which other teams have already done. It’s a great track but you need to be dialed in and get the set-up right. Let’s see how we go for qualifying.”
Following the early flurry of fast laps from the Honda cars, a number of drivers occupied fourth position before Tordoff posted his time with ten minutes to go. Adam Morgan, Tom Ingram and Glynn Geddie all put in top-ten times mid-way through the session, posting the fifth, seventh and eight best times.
A late charge from Jack Goff following the safety car brought the RCIB Insurance Racing Vauxhall Insignia up to an impressive sixth. Goff’s Insignia stable mate Warren Scott also had a strong end to the session, moving up to 15th in the final few minutes.
Jordan, who set pole position at the last two BTCC race meetings at Thruxton, has yet to win a race in Hampshire. To see if he can make it three pole positions from three attempts, tune in to www.itv.com/btcc to watch all the live qualifying action.