James Thompson started his home round of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season in fine style by topping the time sin the opening free practice session at Croft.
The Team Dynamics driver, chasing a fourth win of the season this weekend, posted a time of 1min 26.533secs during the session which allowed him to outpace defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi by just 0.003secs – despite the Italian carrying extra ballast on his Vauxhall Vectra.
Jason Plato, another driver contesting his 'home' race, was third quickest and little more than a tenth of a second off the pace at the wheel of his Racing Silverline Chevrolet Lacetti, with Colin Turkington topping the BMW challenge with the fourth quickest time.
Mat Jackson was forced to battle suspected food poisoning to post the fifth quickest time, despite losing track time in the pits while the RML-run Silverline squad fixed cosmetic damage to the front of his car, while Andrew Jordan completed the top six.
Points leader Matt Neal was seventh, with Stephen Jelley and Cartridge World pair Adam Jones and Dan Eaves rounding out the top ten.
Having secured a late call-up into the Team Aon line-up, Tom Onslow-Cole posted the 18th quickest time at the wheel of his Focus ST.
The session was briefly red-flagged after the TH Motorsport Honda of John George dropped oil on the circuit. He ended up with the 19th quickest time.