Ingram Leaves It Late To Top Opening Croft BTCC Practice


Tom Ingram was mighty out of the blocks under glorious conditions for the fifth meeting of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft, topping Saturday’s opening practice session of the day.

Top spot for much of the 40-minute session was held by Andy Priaulx, his time lasting until after the flag was waved to signal the session’s end, as Ingram’s name popped to the top thanks to a time of 1m24.567s.

The Speedworks Toyota man’s final lap burst put him an alarming 0.656s clear of Priaulx, while Martin Depper produced similarly rapid effort to put his Eurotech Racing Honda Civic third overall.

Depper finished as top Honda in fact, Gordon Shedden‘s works Honda Yuasa Racing Type-R next up in fourth ahead of Aron Smith, the latter finishing best of the four Volkswagens.

Adam Morgan‘s Mercedes was next up, the top 10 rounded out by reigning champion Colin TurkingtonJack Goff (MG), Matt Neal (Honda) and Jeff Smith (Honda), making it four Hondas inside the top 10.

Championship leader Jason Plato endured power steering problems in the opening session of the weekend, the Team BMR driver ending 15th fastest overall.

Nicholas Hamilton, younger brother of Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, finished 26th of the 30 runners on track ahead of his BTCC debut with AmD Tuning, 5.2s off the ultimate pace.

Hamilton said: “It was mission accomplished in terms of achieving what we want to achieve as that is the longest I’ve spent in the car and it was all about doing as many as laps as we could. It’s only the fifth time I’ve been in the car and the first time I have been here for four years and it’s all about learning this weekend – the results aren’t important.

“It’s more important for me to learn as much as I can rather than push too hard and end up in the gravel.”

Max Coates meanwhile was one spot further back ahead of his debut with Support Our Paras Racing, the Infiniti man 5.3s adrift of Ingram’s time.

FP2 gets underway at 12:00, and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.