The BTCC roars back into action this weekend at the 2.96-mile Norfolk-based Snetterton 300 circuit. After many weeks away, BTCC fans have been dying to see the UK’s top championship spring back into action.
Ingram leads the times
The start of the season was electric for Speedworks Motorsports Tom Ingram, which saw him leading the championship standing after the first 9 rounds of the championship, at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Thruxton, including victories in the opening round at Brands and round 5 at Donington. To coincide with this, Ingram had also amassed multiple podium and high scoring finishes.
The summer break would have come at just the right time for the man from High Wycombe, after two disastrous rounds at Oulton Park and, most recently, Croft. These rounds saw the Toyota driver pick up very few points and lose his championship lead, slipping to 5th in the standings behind defending Champion Gordon Shedden, the Team BMW duo of Rob Collard and Colin Turkington, and the impressive BMR YOUNG gun Ashley Sutton.
The evidence of free practise 1 would suggest the summer break has given Ingram just the reset he needed, as he topped the times around the 300 circuit with a time of 1.56.003, averaging 92.13mph around the 2.96 mile circuit. Nipping at his heels and trailing by just 0.102 of a second was Ash Sutton, who looks on course to continue his impressive form as of late in the campaign. Third in the times was another man, like Ingram, looking to get back to the sharp end of the field, Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan. The Lancashire-born Mercedes driver looked to be returning to the pace that many have got used to him being at, but was three tenths of Sutton, and four tenths off of Ingram.
A few unfamiliar faces in the top 11
While the top 7 spot were filled with many familiar faces for that area of the standings. 8th to 11th was filled with 4 more surprising names. 8th place was the first of the BTC Norlin Chevrolets, Chris Smiley, showing that the BTC Norlin crew are improving, meeting by meeting. 9th was the second placed of the 4 BMR Subarus of James Cole, adding more speculation to difference in performance across the Subaru Team. 10th was occupied by the AMD Tuning Audi S3 of Ollie Jackson, continuing to be the pace-setter of the AMD team, over the highly rated and sought after Ant Whorton-Eales. 11th, and highest of the Dynamics-run Honda Civic Type R’s was Matt Simpson. The Simpson Racing driver delivered an impressive time to put his Honda Civic Type-R P11, 9 places higher than stable-mate, and championship leader, Gordon Shedden.
2nd Practise will begin at 12.10pm with qualifying to follow at 3.50pm. Live timing is available at btcc.net, and live coverage on itv.com/btcc.