BMW’s Colin Turkington led the way in both free practice sessions ahead of the British Touring Car Championship round at Croft this weekend.
Four-time champion Turkington made light of the fact that he is carrying 54kg of success ballast on his West Surrey Racing-run 330i M Sport by popping in a late time in the second session to go fastest overall by 0.057 seconds.
It came after he had also topped the slower morning session, setting two laps quicker than anyone else’s best during a ‘race’ run of 14 consecutive flying laps – comfortably the longest stint anyone did over the two sessions.
“It’s dry and cool, and that’s probably the ideal conditions for the car,” said Turkington of his performance on a track where the BMW always shines.
“Since they resurfaced the track a couple of years ago, the grip is very good, and so far so good.
“We rolled out of the box with a very well-balanced car – it was pretty neutral, no understeer, no oversteer, and we’ve just tried not to make it any slower.”
Before Turkington’s flier, the times were topped by the unballasted BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R of Josh Cook, and before Cook’s lap the session was led for a long time by the older-spec FK2 Honda of MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill.
Cook ended up second and Hill – carrying 6kg of ballast – third, with both also featuring in the top six in the opening session.
Adam Morgan continued to extract good speed out of the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes A-Class, which he drove spectacularly to fourth fastest, carrying 18kg of ballast.
Championship contender Tom Ingram didn’t set a flying lap in the morning session due to a broken exhaust manifold on the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Corolla.
But Ingram, on 42kg of ballast, found a clear space of track late in the second session, a few hundred yards behind the flying Turkington, and hauled himself into fifth place.
Tom Oliphant, carrying 30kg of ballast, made it two BMWs in the top six, and was fourth in the morning session, while next up was the Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 of championship leader Ash Sutton.
Sutton, laden with 60kg of success weight, looked strong in the morning to go second fastest to Turkington, and was still quick later on, his best lap within 0.3s of Turkington’s benchmark.
Mike Bushell had a dramatic day on his first competitive outing of 2020 in a Team Hard Volkswagen CC after racing the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra at two earlier rounds.
He caused the only red flag of free practice, with his VW needing retrieval from Clervaux in the morning session, and he had just popped in eighth fastest time in the second session when he lost it at Clervaux and thumped the tyre wall.
A miraculous rebuild from the Motorbase Performance team got Rory Butcher out in the Ford Focus he crashed heavily at Silverstone, and he went ninth fastest on 36kg of ballast.
Dan Cammish rounded out the top 10 at his local track in the lead Team Dynamics Honda.
Cammish was third in the opening session, but a broken differential provoked a change of the complete front end on the Civic – carrying 48kg of weight – for the later period.
Croft BTCC FP1 result
|2||Ash Sutton||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti||0.125s|
|3||Dan Cammish||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.158s|
|5||Jake Hill||AmD Tuning||Honda||0.240s|
|6||Josh Cook||BTC Racing||Honda||0.505s|
|7||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||0.549s|
|8||Matt Neal||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.586s|
|9||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti||0.712s|
|10||Rory Butcher||Motorbase Performance||Ford||0.751s|
|11||Jack Goff||Team Hard||Volkswagen||0.827s|
|12||Tom Chilton||BTC Racing||Honda||0.836s|
|13||Chris Smiley||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai||0.898s|
|14||Bobby Thompson||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||0.968s|
|15||Senna Proctor||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai||1.032s|
|16||Ollie Jackson||Motorbase Performance||Ford||1.155s|
|17||Michael Crees||BTC Racing||Honda||1.183s|
|18||Stephen Jelley||Team Parker Racing||BMW||1.332s|
|19||Mike Bushell||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1.457s|
|20||Carl Boardley||Team Hard||BMW||1.463s|
|21||Andy Neate||Motorbase Performance||Ford||1.971s|
|22||Sam Osborne||AmD Tuning||Honda||2.035s|
|23||Jac Constable||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||2.242s|
|24||Nicolas Hamilton||Team Hard||Volkswagen||2.485s|
|25||Jack Butel||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||3.638s|
|26||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota||–|
Croft BTCC FP2 result
|2||Josh Cook||BTC Racing||Honda||0.057s|
|3||Jake Hill||AmD Tuning||Honda||0.147s|
|4||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||0.152s|
|5||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota||0.229s|
|7||Ash Sutton||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti||0.285s|
|8||Mike Bushell||Team Hard||Volkswagen||0.410s|
|9||Rory Butcher||Motorbase Performance||Ford||0.434s|
|10||Dan Cammish||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.458s|
|11||Matt Neal||Team Dynamics||Honda||0.467s|
|12||Bobby Thompson||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||0.578s|
|13||Senna Proctor||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai||0.656s|
|14||Chris Smiley||Excelr8 Motorsport||Hyundai||0.732s|
|15||Stephen Jelley||Team Parker Racing||BMW||0.733s|
|16||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti||0.769s|
|17||Tom Chilton||BTC Racing||Honda||0.915s|
|18||Michael Crees||BTC Racing||Honda||0.916s|
|19||Carl Boardley||Team Hard||BMW||1.177s|
|20||Ollie Jackson||Motorbase Performance||Ford||1.295s|
|21||Jack Goff||Team Hard||Volkswagen||1.440s|
|22||Jac Constable||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||1.517s|
|23||Andy Neate||Motorbase Performance||Ford||1.763s|
|24||Sam Osborne||AmD Tuning||Honda||1.808s|
|25||Nicolas Hamilton||Team Hard||Volkswagen||2.260s|
|26||Jack Butel||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||2.269s|