GORDON SHEDDEN SETS BRANDS HATCH BENCHMARK
Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Gordon Shedden showed his hand during the closing moments of Free Practice 1, as the three-time BTCC champion set a 48.850s benchmark lap time around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
The Scotsman’s effort was enough to pip long-time pace-setter Tom Oliphant by just 0.019s, with 28 of the 29 runners incredibly covered by less than a second.
Team BMW’s Oliphant impressed throughout as both he and Shedden look to get their respective title challenges back on-track after an indifferent start to the season.
“Obviously we’re not carrying any weight so I’m expecting to be quite strong in qualifying,” said Oliphant. “We were just playing around with set up and the first couple of laps on my tyres felt really good. We made a couple of changes, but we’ve got a really good base car so I’m just enjoying driving it at the moment.
“I have to have a good weekend. I’m sitting in 12th so if I want to put a title challenge together then this is my weekend to get some serious points. But what will be will be, there are a couple of other cars that you know will be quick that haven’t got any weight as well, but I’m feeling pretty confident that we can put it on the front and have a couple of good races.”
Daniel Rowbottom confirmed the pace of the Honda Civic – the most successful marque around 1.2-mile Indy layout over the last five years – as he brought the other Team Dynamics-run machine home in third.
Tom Ingram – fresh from scoring a first-ever win for Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com and the squad’s Hyundai i30N – ran fourth, whilst reigning champion Ash Sutton was an encouraging fifth in his ballast-heavy Laser Tools Racing Infiniti.
Aron Taylor-Smith arguably enjoyed one of his best sessions since returning to the BTCC as the Irishman took sixth. It was a promising early effort for the local Team HARD outfit too as the squad brings it all-new Cupra to the legendary Kent venue.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington had to settle for seventh ahead of Thruxton double race-winner Josh Cook, who is looking to bounce back from a challenging Snetterton in his BTC Racing Honda.
Home hero Jake Hill was ninth in his MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square Ford, whilst Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato completed the top ten order.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will be back on track for FP2 at 1205, whilst the qualifying session – streamed via www.itv.com/btcc – commences at 1510.
Tomorrow’s triple-header race day will be live on ITV3 from 1100.
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Brands Hatch Indy
1 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean 48.850s
2 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.019s
3 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +0.023s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.137s
5 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.169s
6 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +0.174s
7 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.193s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.209s
9 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.231s
10 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.244s
11 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.250s
12 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.266s
13 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +0.306s
14 Senna PROCTOR(GBR) BTC Racing +0.318s
15 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.329s
16 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +0.416s
17 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.435s
18 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +0.466s
19 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.519s
20 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.584s
21 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +0.610s
22 Glynn GEDDIE (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +0.622s
23 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +0.636s
24 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +0.648s
25 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +0.768s
26 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +0.789s
27 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.940s
28 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +0.990s
29 Andy Neate (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +1.062s