Photo: PSP Images

Tom Oliphant tops opening practice as rain arrives

Tom Oliphant posted the quickest time in mixed weather conditions as the BTCC season resumed with the first practice session of the weekend at Oulton Park.

At his home circuit, the WSR driver would sit on top of the times for most of the 40 minute session having set a time early on before rain started to fall over the Cheshire venue.

Oliphant’s time of 1:33.697 would be comfortably clear of the chasing pack for the most of the session as drivers were forced to swap from slick tyres to wets, but when conditions improved slightly in the closing minutes, Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington would both improve to jump up the order from the midfield.

Shedden would end up second quickest in his Honda with a best time that was little under two-tenths of a second off the pace, with Turkington slotting into third in the second of the BMWs, with Stephen Jelley just behind and Tom Chilton fifth as the final driver with a a second of the fastest time.

The three Laser Tools Racing Infinitis followed behind as the rear-wheel drive cars impressed early on, with Aiden Moffat ahead of Carl Boardley and Ash Sutton, with the top ten then completed by Jake Hill and Chris Smiley.

Given the mixed conditions, a number of fancied runners didn’t feature towards the sharp endm including Josh Cook and Rory Butcher – both of whom impressed at the circuit twelve months ago.

Series newcomer Jack Mitchell was 21st in his first session in the Team HARD Cupra with Jason Plato electing not to set a time in his Vauxhall Astra.