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British Touring Car Championship
Donington Park - Free Practice - 16/4/16

By MJP Media | 16 April 2016

Josh Cook lays down the gauntlet by topping the time sheets in both free practice sessions at Donington Park in his MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT.

Josh Cook set the pace in free practice at Donington Park
Josh Cook set the pace in free practice at Donington Park

Fresh from the news that Halfords Yuasa Racing would complete the rest of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as a two-car squad following the departure last week as their 3rd driver Andy Neate, the teams headed to Donington Park for the second meeting of the season with Honda's Matt Neal leading team-mate Gordon Shedden by 5 points at the top of the standings. With young guns Adam Morgan and Aron Smith snapping at the Honda duos heels the championship is already shaping up nicely.

The first BTCC activity of the day from the Leicestershire circuit was the two free practice sessions. Residual water on the track from the overnight rain meant that several drivers started the first session on treaded tyres before moving onto slicks. In the early stages there were several drivers posting fastest lap times as the track steadily dried out. Jason Plato was briefly 3rd on the time sheet for Silverline Subaru BMR Racing, clearly demonstrating the potential of the Levorg GT.

Gordon Shedden pushing hard in his Honda Civic Type R
Gordon Shedden pushing hard in his Honda Civic Type R

The session was red-flagged towards the end when the Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type Rs of Jeff Smith and Martin Depper were both stranded in a gravel trap. With 8 minutes on the clock, the session resumed however another red-flag situation brought it to a premature end to allow the recovery of Mark Howard's BKR Volkswagen CC and Matt Simpson's Speedworks Motorsport Honda Civic Type R. Josh Cook topped the time sheet in his MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT ahead of Gordon Shedden, Mat Jackson and Aron Smith with Colin Turkington completing the top five places.

The second free practice session took place in brighter conditions on a completely dry track with the expectation of faster lap times across the board. Tom Ingram was at the top of the time sheet when the session was red-flagged due to the stranded Dextra Racing with Team Parker Ford Focus of Alex Martin. Once pulled free, Martin managed to recover the car to the pits and the session resumed.

Sam Tordoff was 2nd fastest in the second practice session
Sam Tordoff was 2nd fastest in the second practice session

The second half of the session was also red-flagged for Warren Scott's Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GT and with yellow flags in sector 2 for most of the remainder of the session. There was not much opportunity for drivers to improve on their lap times from earlier in the day however Josh Cook managed once again to end the session at the top of the time sheets - the first driver this season to head both the free practice sessions.

As at the previous meeting it was the younger drivers who showed the way with Sam Tordoff 2nd fastest in the Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport with Tom Ingram 3rd in the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis and Aiden Moffat 4th in the Laser Tools Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class. The next BTCC activity from Donington Park is the qualifying session to determine the grid for the first of tomorrow's three races and with pole position, the opportunity to earn the first championship point of the weekend.

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