Sam Tordoff mastered tricky conditions that greeted the BTCC drivers on Saturday morning at Thruxton for round three of the championship, as he topped the weekend’s first practice session at the Hampshire venue.
The MG rookie timed his lap to perfection in a session that proved difficult for drivers to find a competitive lap time thanks to a shower disrupting proceedings, while Toyota had reason to smile also as a trio of Avensis’ trailed the KX Momentum Racing man on the timesheets.
The S2000 cars were first to venture out onto the circuit as conditions began to change, Wheel Heaven/Houseman Racing’s Lea Wood going fastest early on in his Vauxhall Vectra ahead of the Motorbase Ford Focus of Liam Griffin and David Nye‘s Welch Motorsport Ford.
With 20 minutes to go, Dynojet Toyota’s Frank Wrathall was finally the first of the NGTC cars to move and set a benchmark time of 1m24.795s, although the Speedworks Avensis of Ollie Jackson then snatched top spot moments later by 0.272.
The Toyota 1-2 stood for just 10 minutes of the session, when Tordoff emerged to post a 1m24.018s lap to go fastest in his MG6, timed sweetly as the rain began to fall more heavily, effectively ending the chances for anybody to better that effort.
Jackson ended 0.505s back of Tordoff, while Wrathall and Dave Newsham made it a Toyota 2-3-4 ahead of the Eurotech Honda Civic of Jeff Smith who put together an impressive lap on wet tyres at the very end of the session to go fifth fastest.
Sixth went the way of eBay Motors driver Rob Collard also during the closing phase of proceedings, the local man beating Adam Morgan‘s Ciceley Racing Toyota and fellow WSR team-mate Colin Turkington. Ninth went to the Wix Racing Audi of Will Bratt ahead of Wood as the top Jack Sears Trophy driver in 10th, beating the third eBay Motors-sponsored BMW 125i M Sport machine of Nick Foster.
Many of the front-runners did not set a competitive time during the session, Jason Plato and Matt Neal amongst seven drivers failing to set a flying lap at all, along with the Airwaves Ford duo, Andrew Jordan, Tom Onslow-Cole and the S2000 Volkswagen Golf of James Kaye.