Matt Neal posted the quickest time in free practice for the latest rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.
The Honda driver led the way through the second session of the day at the high-speed Hampshire circuit, setting a benchmark time of 1min 18.154secs at the wheel of his Civic. That was enough to see him beat the Ford Focus on Tom Chilton
by just over a tenth of a second, with the Team Aon driver having topped the earlier 40 minutes of running.
Jeff Smith was third quickest at the wheel of his Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra, despite more than one trip across the final chicane during the two sessions, while the top four was completed by the Chevrolet of Jason Plato
- the defending champion being comfortably the quickest driver using a normally aspirated engine.
Andrew Jordan's Vauxhall and the second Honda of Gordon Shedden
rounded out the top six.
Elsewhere, the VW of Tom Onslow-Cole
was an encouraging ninth with the team having been forced to source a new drivers window after debris thrown up from the circuit saw the glass smashed at the end of FP1, while points leader James Nash was down in tenth as he copes with maximum ballast on his car for the first time.
Amongst those to have problems during the session were Rob Austin, who failed to set a time in FP1 due to an oil leak and fellow NGTC runner Frank Wrathall, who suffered suspension failure in FP2. Chris James was also lucky to escape a trip into the barriers following a spin at the chicane.