Smith tops first session at Thruxton
Two-thirds of the grid were out on track for the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship session of the TOCA Test from Thruxton, with Jeff Smith’s Eurotech Honda Civic Type R setting the early pace.
Smith held the mantle for much of the session and extended his advantage at the top of the times with a strong late run, averaging more than 110mph around the Hampshire speed bowl.
“It’s not necessarily an expectation to be top of the times but it’s a belief there that you can go and do it,” said Smith. “Sometimes you deliver it and sometimes you don’t.
“The guys have done a lot of work over the winter on chassis setup and we’ve learned a few more things over winter testing too. You want to just make one change to make things come right but you have to go and do three or four things to make it all work at the same time. We’re really getting our heads around it I think.
“It’s up there among the quickest circuits in Europe so any time you go around Thruxton prior to the race weekend here is very valuable time.”
Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan rounded out the session in second spot while Jake Hill continued his recent vein of positive form to place third. Drivers’ standings leader – Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram – found himself 14th with reigning champion Gordon Shedden 11th in the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda.
Pace, however, is not the only priority straight out of the blocks here as teams and drivers look to learn as much as is possible about 2017’s full complement of new RML components and Dunlop rubber ahead of the return to Hampshire for Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the BTCC, 6-7 May.
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – TOCA Test, Morning – Thruxton
1 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing 1m16.887s (110.31 mph)
2 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.319s
3 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +0.480s
4 Luke DAVENPORT (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +0.521s
5 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +0.546s
6 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +0.554s
7 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +0.556s
8 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.567s
9 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.729s
10 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.834s
11 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.837s
12 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +0.972s
13 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.979s
14 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +1.154s
15 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +1.205s
16 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +1.331s
17 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +1.556s
18 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1.790s
19 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +1.883s
20 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.901s
21 Josh COOK (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +2.190s