Jordan sets the pace at Rockingham
Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan topped the timesheets in Saturday morning’s opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship practice session from Rockingham with Speedworks man Tom Ingram in close company, just 0.059s back in second.
Twenty-nine cars were separated by just 2.6 seconds, especially close given the usual spread seen in practice as teams and drivers get to grips with conditions, installation and look to dial in their setups.
Three red-flag stoppages threw the running off-kilter as Team HARD drivers Mike Epps and Jake Hill found themselves stranded out on track – the latter in gravel. Sam Tordoff, Drivers’ standings leader also found himself in the wars as he was surprised by a rear brake bias discrepancy which saw him beached. A touch of Gymkhana was how the Yorkshireman described it.
Jordan’s running was limited too, with Motorbase searching for the source of a minor vibration in the Ford Focus. Despite this, two quick runs were enough to best the rest with a time set midway through the session, while stablemate Mat Jackson set the fifth fastest time of the session.
“We only did two flying laps and there’s a vibration on the car so we’re trying to get to the bottom of it,” said Jordan. “We limited running and just stuck to the two so we could solve the issue but the car felt good out there. It’s early days – you don’t know what others are doing with tyres so it doesn’t mean too much overall really, as ever.”
Ingram was on the pace from the off, as he has been more often than not through 2016. He found himself just 0.059s shy of Jordan after a quicker run late in the session.
“Most people up and down the grid will be saying things aren’t feeling fantastic just yet,” said Ingram. “The circuit’s going to evolve over the next few hours. We’re towards the sharp end anyway so that’s a positive.
The WIX Racing Mercedes of Adam Morgan was pipped to P2 late on by Ingram though he still holds an encouraging third, while MG duo Ash Sutton and Josh Cook were back on form after a slightly disappointing Knockhill weekend – P4 and P7 respectively for the young-guns.
Gordon Shedden was the best placed Honda with sixth – a solid start. Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal will be looking to kick on from a best of P10 as the day progresses with his Civic Type R contending with near-maximum success ballast.
After a storming weekend in Fife, the best placed Silverline Subaru BMR Racing machine was that of eight-placed Colin Turkington.
Tony Gilham’s return to the driver’s seat suffered a false start as gearing issues put pay to his FP1, preventing his TLC/RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis leaving its garage and adding to the Team HARD stable’s woes.
Free Practice 2 is set to get underway at 12pm with qualifying to follow at 15:15 LIVE on itv.com/btcc.
2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Rockingham:
1 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance 1m23.045s (84.09 mph)
2 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.059s
3 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +0.128s
4 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +0.184s
5 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.415s
6 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.484s
7 Ash SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +0.487s
8 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +0.677s
9 Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +0.817s
10 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.820s
11 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +0.893s
12 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +0.925s
13 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +1.018s
14 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +1.229s
15 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.249s
16 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +1.259s
17 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +1.262s
18 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +1.268s
19 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +1.344s
20 Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +1.441s
21 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +1.445s
22 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com +1.504s
23 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +1.567s
24 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +1.644s
25 Dan WELCH (GBR) Goodestone Racing +1.671s
26 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +1.878s
27 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +1.928s
28 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +2.525s
29 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +2.637s
30 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +8.890s
31 Tony GILHAM (GBR) TLC/RCIB Insurance Racing NO TIME