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BTCC

Tom Chilton Leads Ford Top Three In Silverstone FP1

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Tom Chilton, Silverstone (Photo Credit: btcc.net)

Tom Chilton, Silverstone (Photo Credit: btcc.net)

The blue oval dominated the first 40 minute practice session at Silverstone, Team Aon driver Tom Chilton leading the session by putting in a lap of 59.900 in the final two minutes of the session.

Chilton who won two of the last year's races around the Silverstone National circuit was among the top runners for most of the session, spending the entire second half as one of just two men to dip below the one minute barrier, though he was second to Mat Jackson's time in the Airwaves Racing year old Ford Focus ST.

Jackson had set his time (59.927) in the first half of the session after being one of several drivers to exchange the ceremonial honour of fastest lap as the field whittled down the times as miles began to increase with the track temperature.

Despite feeling ill James Nash – Jackson's rival for the Independents' title was another to lead the session early on, as was Andrew Jordan in his final outing in the Vauxhall Vectra.

Gordon Shedden led the main title contenders onto the track, setting his first flying lap while Neal and Plato opted to wait until the second half of the session to mount their assault on the timesheets. The Scot, who currently lies five points behind leader Matt Neal ended the first half of the session in fifth place, meeting the checkered flag in the same position though Neal had moved ahead with a lap time of 1:00.041. Jason Plato ended the session sixth (1:00.177).

Plato had waited – as is almost the champion's custom – until the mid-point of the session to set a representative flying lap. The initial effort (1:00.905) put him tenth fastest before his second flying lap moved him up to third, though he was pushed back as others improved late on.

Neal's session followed a similar pattern. He waited until the final 13 minutes to set his first flying lap, initially eleventh fastest before moving up to third.

Neal was pushed back by a last gasp flyer from Tom OnslowCole that snatched the third fastest time to cement Ford's domination of the session.

The full NGTC spec cars struggled to recapture the pace they showed at earlier rounds. Frank Wrathall was the best of the group in twelfth (1:00.421). Chris Swanwick in the second Rob Austin Racing built Audi did not complete a timed lap due to a problem that left him stranded on track. The Thorney Motorsport Vauxhall Insignia, intended to make it's race debut this weekend, failed to appear for the session.

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