Team ES Racing’s Dave Newsham was fastest in the first open test session of the BTCC season ahead of the two Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal.
Newsham’s best lap of 58.965 was almost four-tenths of a second quicker than fellow Scot Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic.
The two Speedworks Toyotas were running without transponders as was John Thorne’s Thorney Motorsport Vauxhall Insignia so the performance of these cars is unknown.
Rob Austin and Mark Hazell shared the only running Audi A4, with Tom Onslow-Cole and Nick Foster sharing one of West Surrey Racing’s BMW 320si as the third car is not ready.
Mat Jackson set only 11 laps in the session in the Motorbase Performance Ford suffering a technical issue in the session, whilst the session was stopped three times with problems for Liam Griffin, Gordon Shedden and Tony Hughes.
Triple Eight’s first MG ran in the morning for media photography but wasn’t scheduled to take part in the test. Also skipping the test was Frank Wrathall’s Dynojet Racing Toyota and Dan Welch’s Proton Persona.
Newsham had the following to say about topping the timesheet:
“It’s a bit unbelievable really. We know the cars are good, they’ve had a lot of money spent on them. So what we’ve had to do is replicate what they’re doing, even though we’re probably on one of the smallest budgets in the paddock. I go out and drive it as fast as I can and that seems to be doing the job. I’m really impressed with the team [Team ES Racing]. When you read some of the online comments and things it seems like that the team is seen as a bit of a joke. Hopefully we’ve put that right today.”