After a difficult weekend at Silverstone last time out, Team Halfords returned to form as the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season finale kicked off at Brands Hatch, with Tom Chilton setting the pace in the opening practice session of the weekend.

Chilton, who holds the race lap record at the Kent circuit, posted a time of 49.173secs at the wheel of his Honda Civic which put him just ahead of the Vauxhall of Tom Onslow-Cole on the timesheets; the Vauxhall man less than a tenth of a second behind in the usual closely run session around the short Indy Circuit.

Chilton's Halfords team-mate Gordon Shedden was third quickest in the sister Civic while Colin Turkington was fourth, just ahead of the man he is fighting for third overall in the standings and the Independents' title, Mat Jackson. The pair were split by just 0.034secs at the conclusion of the 40 minutes of running, held in bright sunshine.

Darren Turner was sixth in the first of the SEAT diesels, just ahead of current championship leader Fabrizio Giovanardi in seventh. Stephen Jelley, Matt Neal and Rob Collard rounded out the top ten.

Power steering issues restricted Jason Plato's time on track and he ended up eleventh quickest, while Adam Jones, Steven Kane, Mike and Andrew Jordan and John George all lapped within a second of the quickest time.

Michael Doyle was just outside that marked in his InTune Racing Honda Civic, while Harry Vaulkhard, Jason Hughes, Chris Stockton, Martyn Bell and Alan Taylor completed the drivers to post a time.

Erkut Kizilirmak managed two sighter laps in his ex-Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe before returning to the pits having 'heard a noise' in the car which the team wished to investigate. As a result, he failed to post a time.

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