Matt Neal made the early running at a wet and slippery Rockingham circuit, heading a Honda 1-2-3 in first practice.
The Honda Yuasa Racing team were the pace-setters in the opening session on Saturday morning, championship leader Neal putting together a lap of 1m34.978s to go fastest in the early minutes.
The effort was sufficient enough to stay at the top of the times throughout the session as conditions did not improve, Gordon Shedden coming closest to his team-mate by just 0.133s.
Andrew Jordan made it a Civic whitewash of the top three in the 40-minute session with third place, the session stopped briefly by an off for the S2000 Ford Focus of Motorbase‘s Liam Griffin at Pif Paf.
On the restart, the top three stayed the same until the flag, with Dave Newsham the big mover in the dying laps to leap up to fourth spot ahead of fellow Toyota Avensis driver Frank Wrathall.
“It would have been nice if that was qualifying wouldn’t it with three Hondas at the top, but it’s early days yet”, said Neal.
Sixth went to an impressive Will Bratt who climbed up the order with his last lap, beating Sam Tordoff, Mat Jackson, Jason Plato and Adam Morgan who rounded out the top 10, Plato not setting the world alight in the early stages of the weekend just yet.
Colin Turkington could only manage 13th place, while Tom Onslow-Cole‘s first drive in an Airwaves Racing Ford Focus netted him 18th place behind Howard Fuller‘s Team HARD Vauxhall Insignia.
Andy Wilmot made his debut in a BTCC Volkswagen Passat also, finishing amongst the Jack Sears Trophy cars in 25th.
Lea Wood was best of the three S2000 entrants, David Nye last of all after he survived a big slide through the grass at Tarzan hairpin.
– Second practice gets underway at 12:40 this afternoon, and you can follow all the action with us at thecheckeredflag.co.uk and on Twitter by tcfBTCC.