Speedworks Motorsport were the first to shine on a sunny Saturday morning at Brands Hatch, topping the opening practice session of the day with a 1-2 result.
On a drying track, Ollie Jackson set a late lap good enough to move to the top of the times as the chequered flag waved over the field, but he was denied by team-mate Dave Newsham on his last effort by 0.494s.
With track conditions not to perfection following torrential rain on Friday, Andrew Jordan – leading the championship by 34 points heading into the final three races – was the pace-setter throughout the first half of the 40-minute session.
As times tumbled the session closed up, Jordan’s time pressured most by the Airwaves Ford Focus trio as Aron Smith was first to demote the Honda driver.
Tom Onslow-Cole was next to move to the top after Jordan briefly returned to the head of the times, but his effort was soon dismantled by Tordoff, the MG KX Momentum Racing driver going 0.540s quicker before improving even further with a 1m41.848s lap to go almost a second clear of his nearest rival.
The session was then halted with 13 minutes remaining to remove Frank Wrathall‘s beached Dynojet Toyota Avensis from the gravel trap at the final corner, after which Tordoff’s position lasted all but three minutes as the two Yuasa Honda Civics of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden both went quickest.
Times continued to fall as Smith then returned to the summit, joined in second spot by the impressive Jake Hill, who stayed a constant threat in his first run in the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4.
The final laps of the session saw the scenario all switch once again, Tordoff briefly going quickest again before the two Speedworks men lay down the first practice benchmarks, Jackson being denied his session-topping moment in the sun by Newsham’s lap of 1m38.263s.
“The track was changing every lap, so it was a case of trying to keep it on the track really”, said Newsham. “It’s like a different car at Druids and Surtees, then when you get into the forest it’s pretty good actually.”
Tordoff, Smith and Onslow-Cole made up the top five, while Hill ended the session sixth ahead of Mat Jackson in a good start to the weekend for Airwaves Racing, Neal, Shedden and Adam Morgan completing the top 10.
Lea Wood put in a fine late effort to jump into 11th place ahead of the NGTC Audi of Rob Austin, Jordan ending the session in 14th place.
His remaining two title rivals, Colin Turkington and Jason Plato, had a more quiet session, Turkington 16th ahead of Team HARD newcomer Tom Barley, Plato down in 24th behind Aiden Moffat and the returning Shaun Hollamby.