Jason Plato again came away with the quickest time in the second free practice session at Brands Hatch, as the MG man heads into qualifying for the first British Touring Car Championship round in best shape of all.
The double champion lead almost throughout the second 40-minute session of the day, but he was almost usurped in the dying seconds by Team BMR Racing‘s Jack Goff, who finished a mere 0.012s off the pace of the MG man.
Mat Jackson and Fabrizio Giovanardi briefly gave the Motorbase Performance squad a moment in the glorious Brands Hatch sunshine by topping the times during the early minutes of the 40-minute session, Giovanardi later surviving a high-speed excursion.
Plato quickly asserted his authority once again however, repeating his efforts in first practice by leaping to the top of the times within the first 10 minutes which proved the position he would stay when the flag waved to signal practice’s conclusion.
A frantic start proved similar to a qualifying session as drivers chopped and changed during the first 15 minutes, Plato lowering his lap times to an eventual 48.719s effort that topped the time sheets, although nearly half a second slower than the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save BTCC driver managed in FP1.
A brief stoppage was caused by the BMR Racing Vauxhall Insignia of Warren Scott ending up in the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend late on, the session quickly resuming with less than five minutes on the clock.
Plato’s team-mate Sam Tordoff made it an MG one-two in the closing minutes, but they were then split firstly by Andrew Jordan, and then by Goff who ended just 0.012s behind Plato.
Jordan was third in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, while fourth went to Tordoff ahead of Aron Smith, who continued to shine with his new BMR Racing squad behind the wheel of a Volkswagen CC.
Sixth place went to impressing rookie Tom Ingram for Speedworks, with Colin Turkington (WSR), Gordon Shedden, (Yuasa Honda), Matt Neal (Yuasa Honda), and Martin Depper (Pirtek Racing) rounding out the top 10 – the top seven covered by less than a tenth of a second.
Ollie Jackson made it out onto the track in the sole Welch Motorsprt Proton Gen-2, Dan Welch sitting out the opening weekend of the season he reported his car remains 99% complete, without the concluding parts available for competing.
Of the newer cars, Chris Stockton ended two seconds adrift in the BTC Racing Chevrolet Cruze, Robb Holland only 1.3s away from Plato’s FP2 time in the Rotek Racing Audi S3.
Lea Wood also completed a successful run in both sessions with the JWT Performance squad’s new Toyota Avensis, which was left at the Media Day at Donington without an engine previously.
Follow all the action from Brands Hatch this weekend with The Checkered Flag, and via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.