Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship series leader Colin Turkington dominated the first official practice session of Saturday at Knockhill, leading a West Surrey Racing one-two.
The Northern Irishman moved to the head of the times at the mid-stage of the 40-minute session, heading BMW team-mate Rob Collard by a healthy cushion of 0.404s to stamp the manufacturer’s dominance at the Fife venue – WSR having won four of the last six races at the circuit.
Turkington leads by 23 points in the championship, but will of course serve an eight-place grid penalty this weekend after today’s qualifying session for race one of Sundays trio.
The early minutes of the session were headed by the BMR Racing Volkswagen CCs of Alain Menu and team boss Warren Scott, former double champion Menu the pace-setter initially as he bumped Triple Eight‘s Sam Tordoff off the top spot.
Menu’s rapid run of laps to bring him to the top continued to improve, although there were soon three former BTCC champions in the top three as local hero Gordon Shedden moved to the head of the times, only to be quickly usurped by Turkington moments later.
The BMW driver smashed lap record pace and lowered the times to an eventual 51.870s effort to seal the quickest time of the morning, Collard making it a WSR one-two at a track the latter won twice around in 2012.
Turkington said afterwards: “We’ve got a good car this morning. Going on free practice it’s not going to be easy, but that’s what Knockhill is about – it’s very unpredictable here as it is.”
Jason Plato was hampered by a mechanical demon early in the session that left him crawling round to the pits, the problem quickly rectified afterwards and allowing him to post the third-fastest time of the session – half a second off Turkington’s best.
Next up was Shedden, the Scot a further tenth adrift in his Honda Civic Tourer while Andrew Jordan rounded out the top five in his Pirtek Racing Civic. Tordoff, Menu and the third BMW of Nick Foster were next up, the top 10 rounded out by last year’s pole-sitter Rob Austin and the second Yuasa Racing Honda of Matt Neal.
Glynn Geddie was one of those to suffer a minor excursion in the session along with Chris Stockton – carrying a new Swindon engine in his Chevrolet Cruze – while Tom Ingram was forced to pull off the circuit for Speedworks Motorsports with a mechanical drama.
Second practice gets underway at 12.10, and you can follow all the action with The Checkered Flag and via Twitter @tcfbtcc.