Jason Plato started 2013 almost as he left 2012 with his MG setting the pace in the dry at Brands Hatch.
The two-time champion lapped the track in 48.510s to head defending champion Gordon Shedden (48.665s) and Andrew Jordan (48.725s) in the 2013 British Touring Car Championship’s first practice session.
Behind them, Jordan’s teammate Jeff Smith was a credible fourth fastest ahead of returning 2009 champion Colin Turkington.
The new eBay Motors BMWs impressed in their first real showing, with Turkington running fifth for most of the second half of the session after he and teammates Rob Collard (9th) and Nick Foster (11th) had lingered inside the top ten for much of the first half hour.
Toyota had two cars in the top ten, Frank Wrathall 7th and Speedworks Motortsport debutant Dave Newsham 10th.
It was an understated session for Airwaves Racing duo Aron Smith and Mat Jackson. The Irishman was 12th, two places ahead of his more experienced teammate in the NGTC Ford Focus.
Joe Girling (18th) was quickest of the S2000 cars, a fraction ahead of Warren Scott. The more experienced drivers – Lea Wood, Liam Griffin and James Kaye – along with David Nye had troubling starts to their Jack Sears campaigns.