British Touring Car Championship
Knockhill - Free Practice - 13/8/16
With Team JCT600 with GardX's Rob Collard and Sam Tordoff at the top of the Drivers' Championship, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship arrived at Scotland's Knockhill circuit with the sad news of the passing of double champion Jack Sears with a minute's silence being observed during this weekend's meeting. In recent years, BTCC rookies have challenged for the 'Jack Sears Trophy' which encourages and rewards the next crop of BTCC stars.
With Kelvin Fletcher absent from the Knockhill meeting awaiting the birth of his first baby, former Jack Sears Trophy and BTCC race-winner Dave Newsham takes over Fletcher's Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze for this weekend. Inverness based Newsham is no stranger to the Knockhill circuit or to Power Maxed Racing, having driven for the team throughout the 2015 season.
The first free practice session got under way with most of the drivers doing short runs then pitting to rotate their tyres. When the lap times settled down it was local hero Aiden Moffat in the Laser Tools Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class who set the early pace around the 1.27 mile circuit, however the Scot fell down the order slightly as the session progressed and Jason Plato went fastest in his Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GT.
Several minutes of the session were lost due to the recovery of Andrew Jordan's Motorbase Performance Ford Focus from the gravel trap at Scotsman corner, leaving only a small window of opportunity remaining to improve lap times. Another red flag period was declared in the closing minutes and with the best lap times having been already set, it was Jason Plato who topped the time sheet with Speedworks Motorsport's Tom Ingram 2nd and MG Racing RCIB Insurance's Ashley Sutton 3rd. Sam Tordoff, Adam Morgan and Andrew Jordan completed the top six.
The second session got under way with drivers doing their usual tyre rotation before meaningful lap times were posted. Dan Welch briefly halted the session when his Goodestone Racing Proton Persona came to a halt on the start/finish straight, causing a red flag situation. As the session continued, lap times fell however Matt Neal in the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic was still well down the order. He recovered in the final minutes to end the session 17th fastest, 0.571 seconds off the pace.
The session ended with Tom Ingram topping the time sheet with Adam Morgan 2nd in the WIX Racing Mercedes Benz A-Class and Jack Goff 3rd in the Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport. Hunter Abbott was 4th fastest in his Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze with Eurotech Racing's Jeff Smith 5th and Jason Plato 6th for Silverline Subaru BMR Racing. The next track action from the BTCC at Knockhill is the qualifying session to determine the grid for the first of tomorrow's three races.
Published 13 August 2016