Jake on top of the hill
MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Jake Hill topped the times in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship Free Practice session at Knockhill this morning (29 August).
After a week of mixed weather in the Fife area – including the brief visit by Storm Francis – conditions were almost perfect as the 25 BTCC cars roared onto the Tarmac shortly before 10am for the opening session of an important championship weekend.
Josh Cook (BTC Racing), Tom Ingram (Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters) and Mike Bushell (Power Maxed Car Care Racing) were among those to sit on top of the timesheets during the 40-minutes of running, but it was Hill’s lap in the final five minutes – just 0.306s short of Rory Butcher’s 2019 qualifying lap record – that would set the benchmark.
Having completed a rare shakedown at the track on Friday evening – introduced by TOCA at some meetings in 2020 due to the lack of preparation time in-between back-to-back events – it was little surprise that the drivers and teams were quickly on the pace come Saturday morning.
Bushell and Ingram eventually ended up second and fourth respectively, with Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant wedged between them as the chequered flag fell.
Laser Tools Racing collectively enjoyed one of its best sessions of the season so far with both drivers inside the top six – Ash Sutton narrowly edging out team-mate Aiden Moffat. Sutton has enjoyed an eye-catching start to the 2020 campaign, but this is an important weekend for Moffat in the Infiniti Q50 as the Scotsman chases silverware at his home track.
Reigning champion Colin Turkington was seventh with the BMW 3 Series showing solid pace, whilst BTC Racing’s Josh Cook was just behind. Like Hill, Cook is considered a serious threat for pole position later this afternoon with both cars still running relatively low on success ballast due to an unfortunate start to their respective seasons.
Title contenders – Dan Cammish (Halfords Yuasa Racing) and Butcher (Motorbase Performance) – rounded out the top ten positions.
Some 18 cars were separated by less than a second in the largely uneventful session, although Michael Crees (The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing) and Andy Neate (Motorbase Performance) both had to recover from minor offs.
The final free practice session around the 1.27-mile Knockhill circuit takes place at 1215, before qualifying for Round 10 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship commences at 1530. As ever, qualifying will be streamed live and exclusively via www.itv.com/btcc.
2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Knockhill
1 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +50.757s
2 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Power Maxed Car Care Racing +0.247s
3 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.248s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters +0.299s
5 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.369s
6 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.428s
7 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.448s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.470s
9 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.585s
10 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.605s
11 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +0.624s
12 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.625s
13 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.782s
14 Tom CHILTON (GBR) BTC Racing +0.850s
15 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +0.851s
16 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +0.875s
17 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +0.948s
18 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.982s
19 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +1.005s
20 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) HUB Financial Solutions with Team HARD +1.032s
21 James GORNALL (GBR) GKR TradePriceCars.com +1.075s
22 Michael CREES (GBR) The Clever Baggers with BTC Racing +1.115s
23 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +1.371s
24 Andy NEATE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +1.887s
25 Jack BUTEL (GBR) Carlube TripleR Racing with Mac Tools +2.021s