Martin Tomczyk - Photo Credit: DTM Media

Tomczyk pushed the limits to take top spot on Friday - Photo Credit: DTM Media

Defending DTM champion Martin Tomczyk set the pace in his BMW in the first practice session at Brands Hatch, finishing up just ahead of a tightly-packed gaggle of Mercedes at the end of the 90 minute session.

Tomczyk, who won at the Kent circuit last year when he was driving for Audi, was 0.077 seconds faster than home racer Gary Paffett. Paffett leads the points after his win at Hockenheim and second place at Lausitz.

The three ‘Mercedes Junior  Team’ drivers Christian Vietoris, Robert Wickens and Roberto Merhi were next up, with all three coming within 0.011s of Paffett around the short Indy layout.

Bruno Spengler, winner last time out at Lausitz for BMW, was sixth, just 0.007s adrift of Merhi. Spengler’s teammate Augusto Farfus, who joined him on the podium at the last race, was the same margin further behind in seventh.

Mattias Ekstrom was the best of the Audis in eighth, 0.182s off the pace set by Tomczyk. HWA Mercedes duo Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green completed the top ten.

Edoardo Mortara in 11th led fellow Audi youngsters Miguel Molina and Adrien Tambay, with another Audi man Timo Scheider in 14th.

Joey Hand was 15th for BMW, ahead of British fan favourites David Coulthard and Andy Priaulx for Mercedes and BMW respectively.

Filipe Albuquerque, Susie Wolff, Mike Rockenfeller, Dirk Werner and Rahel Frey rounded out the runners.

Second practice takes place at 9.00 on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying at 12.40.