Andrew Jordan headed the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship practice session at Snetterton – but all eyes were on Redstone Racing after a superhuman effort turned around a brand-new NGTC Ford Focus ST for Mat Jackson.
The car turned a wheel for the first time as it exited pitlane and although it did not trouble the timesheets it bodes well for the team after a three-day haul got the car ready in time.
Meanwhile Jordan, who hit the top of the timing screens early, was comfortably clear of Gordon Shedden (1m 58.984s) in the first of the Yuasa Racing Honda Civics, lapping his Pirtek Racing Civic in 1m 58.431s . Jason Plato was just one-hundredth of a second behind in third, the top three the only drivers to go below 1m59s, and Tom Onslow-Cole fourth.
Matt Neal left it late to take fifth with Adam Morgan an impressive sixth in his Speedworks Toyota, the last driver under the two-minute mark.
The session started with all cars – minus Jackson – taking to the track early, though Tony Gilham left it a little later than the rest as he set about learning the Thorney Motorsport Vauxhall Insignia.
Jordan headed Plato from the start but the MG was the first to dip under two minutes, with a 1m 59.630s. Fastest time then changed hand very quick – first Shedden going fastest, first into the 1m58s a 1m58.984s, which would be his quickest time, before Jordan fired in a 1m58.431s.
Onslow-Cole then went fourth quickest, clear of Aron Smith, Lea Wood, Rob Austin, Dave Newsham (whose session ended early with a radiator problem), Frank Wrathall and Jeff Smith at the half-way stage.
Plato improved his time but not his position with his fastest time of the session to go within a whisker of the lead Honda, and as Neal snatched fourth place late on it threw down an early marker to the rest that the usual suspects would lead from the front.
However, the likes of Morgan, Onslow-Cole, Austin and Daniel Welch will be buoyed by their strong early showings, indicating they could enjoy strong weekends.
In his first ever BTCC practice session new Team-HARD. signing Robb Holland finished 17th, just ahead of Andy Neate and his new boss in the Thorney Insignia.
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