Reigning champion Andrew Jordan set the pace for Pirtek Racing in the opening free practice session for the third British Touring Car Championship meeting at Thruxton.
The Honda Civic driver – carrying 36kg of penalty ballast for holding the joint series lead with Jason Plato – lapped the Thruxton circuit in a time of 1m16.818s to take the early bragging rights of the weekend.
Action around the 2.36-mile Hampshire circuit began under sunny skies on Saturday morning, Rob Austin and Sam Tordoff setting the pace during the drivers’ early installation laps.
Tordoff was quickly knocked off his perch by Gordon Shedden, who held that spot for much of the first half of the 40-minute practice session at a track he has previously won around five times since 2006.
The Honda Yuasa Racing man then continued to drop the times before briefly surrendering that honour to Colin Turkington, only for the Scot to snatch the spot back from his eBay Motors Donington sparring partner.
The duo’s dice was interloped by the steadily improving Jordan, who leaped up into third place before moments later taking his Honda to the top of the times.
Shedden and Turkington had to settle for second and third places, while Alain Menu confirmed the pace which the Volkswagen Passat displayed last season around this track by concluding the session fourth for BMR Racing.
Mat Jackson finished fifth in the steadily-improving Motorbase Ford Focus, ahead of Tordoff and the second Honda Civic Tourer of Matt Neal.
Adam Morgan‘s Mercedes A-Class was next up, Tom Ingram and Fabrizio Giovanardi rounding out the top 10 for both Speedworks and Motorbase respectively.
Jason Plato had a steady run to 12th place by the session’s end, which was red-flagged twice after incidents for Rob Collard and Aron Smith late in proceedings.
The BMW man recovered from an Allard off, while Smith’s more substantial accident before the Complex left the Volkswagen CC with plenty of damage to repair before qualifying.
FP2 gets underway at 12:40, and you can follow all the Thruxton action with The Checkered Flag and on Twitter at @tcfBTCC.