REIGNING CHAMP TURKINGTON LEADS THE WAY
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington set the pace in Free Practice 1 as the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship finally got underway at Donington Park.
The longest off-season in BTCC history came to an end as 26 glorious tin-top machines took to the tarmac for the first time following the enforced four month delay.
Such was the excitement that drivers took little time to get up to speed as Tom Chilton immediately blasted his BTC Racing Honda into the 1:09s on the timing screens.
The relentless pace continued and it was Turkington who topped the lot as his 1:09.466s lap time dipped below Jason Plato’s existing qualifying lap record from 2014.
The leading order was dominated by the BTCC’s big hitters as Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal and Dan Cammish claimed second and fifth respectively.
“I’ve only been out twice since October,” said Neal. “The car felt well-balanced right from the start, the tyres were good and the track’s in mega condition.
“I was determined to get out at Silverstone [in March] and set a time, but doing race distances would’ve been another thing with my injury, I was pretty beaten up after Season Launch so in that respect the delayed start to the season helped me out no end.”
Sandwiched between the manufacturer-backed Honda Civic Type Rs were Laser Tools Racing’s Ash Sutton and the Toyota Corolla of Tom Ingram.
Chilton had to settle for sixth at the finish following his early flurry of impressive laps, which was enough to pip his BTC Racing team-mate Josh Cook.
Whilst championship challenges are certainly not won and lost in the opening practice session, it was clear that many of the main contenders were immediately on the pace.
Jake Hill, Chris Smiley and Tom Oliphant rounded out the top ten.
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Donington Park
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW 1:09.466s
2 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.154s
3 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.181s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR ) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +0.256s
5 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.315s
6 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +0.328s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.406s
8 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.464s
9 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +0.471s
10 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.480s
11 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +0.521s
12 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +0.611s
13 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.670s
14 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.780s
15 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +0.813s
16 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.823s
17 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +0.884s
18 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.106s
19 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +1.127s
20 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +1.192s
21 James GORNALL (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +1.263s
22 Andy NEATE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +2.078s
23 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) HUB Financial Solutions with Team HARD +2.084s
24 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Team HARD +2.482s
25 Ollie BROWN (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport Team HARD +2.502s
26 Jack BUTEL (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +3.923s