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Simpson gets #BTCC60 weekend off to a flier

Matt Simpson has taken the early bragging rights by setting the pace in Free Practice 1 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event at Snetterton.

The Honda Civic Type R driver was a front-runner for much of the latter stages of the drying session and the BTCC race winner timed it right by clocking a benchmark as the chequered flag fell.

A flash downpour greeted the drivers and teams first thing this morning and the 40-minute segment begun with most cars running the Dunlop BluResponse wet tyres. With sun soon returning to the Norfolk venue a dry line began to form and times tumbled for the remainder of the action.

Simpson and the VW of Mike Bushell traded times at the top as the seconds drifted away, but it was the former who produced the goods on his final attempt. BTC Norlin Racing’s Chris Smiley also joined the party as he slid into second with a last gasp effort.

Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant completed a rather surprising top four line-up, ahead of former champion Andrew Jordan in the BMW Pirtek Racing car. AmD man Ollie Jackson was sixth, whilst Adam Morgan proved the prowess of the Mercedes A-Class with the next best effort.

Rory Butcher (AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing), Colin Turkington (Team BMW) and Senna Proctor (Power Maxed TAG Racing) rounded out the top ten, although the latter had a dramatic start to proceedings as he made contact with his Vauxhall team-mate Josh Cook on the green flag lap. Cook’s Astra came off worse following the incident and the Bath racer failed to set a time as his PMR team set about repairing the damage.

A number of the BTCC’s leading protagonists failed to trouble the top order, whilst Tom Ingram suffered even greater discomfort when his Toyota stopped out on track. The session was briefly stopped in order to retrieve Ingram’s stricken Avensis and his Independent champion Speedworks squad are now working to ready his car for the next practice action.

The BTCC is set to enjoy an historic weekend with its diamond jubilee celebrations including a ‘Diamond Double’ 60-mile finale race on Sunday afternoon. Saturday’s action also has a completely new look with two qualifying sessions taking place today – with the final ballast-free encounter setting the grid for tomorrow’s headline event.

2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Snetterton

Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing 1m56.783s
Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.054s
3 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +0.154s
Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.329s
5 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.356s
Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +0.403s
7 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.522s
Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +0.557s
9 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.642s
10 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +0.774s
11 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +1.282s
12 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +1.326s
13 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +1.432s
14 Michael CAINE (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +2.045s
15 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +2.175s
16 Dan LLOYD (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +2.409s
17 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +2.717s
18 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +3.081s
19 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +3.356s
20 Dan WELCH (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +4.696s
21 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +6.739s
22 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +7.817s
23 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +14.411s
24 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +14.941s
25 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +15.693s
26 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +19.165s
27 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +21.504s
28 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +24.185s
29 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +26.003s
30 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +26.658s
31 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing NO TIME

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