Matt Neal topped the times in the opening HiQ MSA British Touring car Championship free practice session of the weekend at Silverstone, although the session didn't go totally to plan for the VX Racing man.
Neal posted a quickest time of 1min 00.518secs during the session but only completed nine laps after his Vectra suffered an engine failure that led him to return to the garage and park the car up. The team will now work to repair the car for the second session of the day.
Neal ended the session just 0.035secs ahead of Jason Plato, despite the SEAT man suffering from a lack of grip in his Leon TDi, and he was only 0.015secs clear of title rival Fabrizio Giovanardi. Giovanardi could secure the title this weekend if he can outscore Plato by twelve points during the three races on Sunday.
Colin Turkington came out fourth ahead of Mat Jackson, with the two BMWs split by just 0.021secs, while Tom Onslow-Cole rounded out the top six in the third of the Vectras.
Darren Turner was seventh in the sister SEAT Leon, but his session came to a smoky end due to an engine oil leak which saw him return to the pits with white smoke belching from the rear of his car. Halfords pairing Gordon Shedden and Tom Chilton took eighth and ninth, with Andy Jordan completing the top ten.
The top 16 drivers were within a second of the quickest time, while Alan Taylor was the only driver not to head out on track after starter motor issues on his Honda Integra.
23 cars will compete this weekend with Erkut returning to the Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk team after missing Oulton Park and Knockhill due to business commitments.
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