Double Donington winner Gordon Shedden reconfirmed the pace of the new Honda Civic on the wet Thruxton track dominating the second free practice session for the British Touring Car Championship as he had done the first.
Though significantly slower than the first session Shedden was fastest by more than a second as he lapped the airfield circuit in 1:22.080. That lap was completed with 24 minutes still to go, displacing Jason Plato whose best time was 1:23.143. Again – in similar fashion to the first session improvements during the second half of the session were minimal, and entirely confined to those outside of the top two.
Matt Neal, however, moved up to third in the final twelve minutes having sat out the early exchanges before setting his own fastest laps, though like much of the field he failed to match his pace from the first session despite the fact that the previously relentless rain had finally stopped.
Further rubber-stamping the Civic's pace Andrew Jordan and Jeff Smith were fourth and sixth respectively for Pirtek Racing, sandwiching Dave Newsham – the only S2000 runner in the top six.
The drying conditions allowed some teams and drivers to scrub in slick tyres – Redstone Racing the most high profile as Mat Jackson and Liam Griffin braved the choice of slick front tyres and wet rears. Both men, however, returned to the pits to switch back onto treaded Dunlops all round, Jackson improving his time to seventh ahead of Frank Wrathall, Rob Collard and Dan Welch.
Proton driver Welch completed only four laps, setting a best time of 1:25.177 before coasting to halt at the complex with an as yet unidentified mechanical issue.
Problems also limited the laps completed by Andy Neate – the Triple Eight run MG squad having replaced the wiring loom between practices – Aron Smith (gearbox) and Rob Austin, who though the new engine is now fitted in the Audi A4 will now have to wait until qualifying this afternoon for his first track time of the weekend.
Adam Morgan – one of the surprises of the opening session – stopped just five minutes into the second session, necessitating a brief red flag while his Avensis was recovered.