Jason Plato fastest in first free practice at Brands Hatch

Jason Plato set the fastest time in the first free practice session of the British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch.

The Triple Eight MG driver set a time of 48.510, about 0.3s off the qualifying lap record, ahead of Honda Racing’s Gordon Shedden and Eurotech Racing’s Andrew Jordan.

Jordan’s team-mate Jeff Smith was just behind in fourth, ahead of West Surrey Racing’s Colin Turkington, in his new BMW 125i.  Matt Neal, Frank Wrathall, Rob Austin, Rob Collard and Dave Newsham completed the top 10.

The session was held in very cold conditions, with temperatures only just creeping above 1C.

Plato was the first driver to break the 50 second barrier and quickly dropped his time to a 48.510, a lap which remained unchallenged for the rest of the session.

Joe Girling was the fastest Jack Sears Trophy runner in his Chevrolet Cruze, in 18th position overall.

Some cars suffered technical problems which limited their running during the session.

Lea Wood had a starter motor issue in his JWT Performance Vauxhall Vectra, Motorbase’s Liam Griffin had a turbo problem in his Ford Focus and James Kaye’s running in the AmD Tuning Volkswagen Golf was limited by gearbox concerns.

Tom Onslow-Cole completed one installation lap in his Tony Gilham Racing Volkswagen CC, a car which only arrived at the circuit an hour-and-a-half before the session.