Adam Morgan set the pace in the opening free practice session of the British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch, going two tenths quicker than fellow Mercedes privateer Aiden Moffat.
The pair were trading quickest times from the very beginning of the session, with many of the works drivers electing to stay in their garages until around halfway through the session.
Morgan left it late to go quickest though, popping up with a 1:31.698 with only a minute remaining in the session. Behind him and Moffat was Brett Smith, with the leading trio the only drivers to break the 1:31 barrier during the 40 minutes of running.
Another driver to leave it late was Aron Taylor-Smith, putting himself fourth quickest with only two minutes to go and ending up the fastest of the factory-backed cars.
Tom Ingram put in the fifth quickest time, though his running was limited compared to the rest of the field. Complaining of an odd noise coming from the gearbox casing of his Toyota Avensis, his Speedworks Motorsport team pulled him into the garage to give it a once-over before resuming later in the session.
Behind the top five, the times were tight, with 6th to 21st covered by less than six tenths of a second. Leading the pack was Mat Jackson, whose Ford Fiesta is relatively lightweight thanks to minimal ballast. The Motorbase driver has three wins in the past two years at Brands Hatch, making him one to watch for the rest of the weekend.
There were no reported issues for the two championship contenders in FP1, Ashley Sutton going half a second off Morgan’s pace in ninth while Colin Turkington was fifteenth quickest, two tenths slower than Sutton.
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