Team BMR's Jason Plato has set a frightening statement of intent after topping the opening BTCC practice at Donington Park by over five-tenths ahead of anyone else.

The session was halted midway through proceedings when the stricken Audi A4 of Hunter Abbott delayed the running for quite some time.

Once the red flag was lifted - with MG's Andrew Jordan leading the way at the time - the field then reassembled for a frenetic final ten minutes of running.

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It was only then where Plato and VW revealed their potent turn of pace after the double-champion set a stunning brace of sub 1 minute 10 laps right at the end of the session.

Plato - running no success ballast at this stage of the weekend - eventually settled for a 1 minute 09.665 second lap around the Donington Park circuit, a full six-tenths quicker than Honda's Gordon Shedden in second.

Amazingly, the 88-time race winner's lap was only two-tenths off his qualifying lap record set last year, whilst driving the MG, after only just one session.

Triple Eight's Jordan - indicating the MG may prove to be more of a threat this weekend - settled for third while BMR's Colin Turkington and Aron Smith could only get to within seven-tenths of their team mate's searing pace in fourth and fifth.

The two Mercedes' of Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffat once again comfortably stamped their mark within the top ten in sixth and seventh position. The A-Class previously went well around the Donington circuit during the championship's Media day over three-weeks ago.

Speedworks Motorsport's Tom Ingram wasn't far behind in eighth position while the Toyota led the two Power Maxed Chevrolet's of Josh Cook and Dave Newsham, both completing the top-ten.

Notably, joint point's leaders Matt Neal and Jack Goff ended the morning's running twelfth and 21st respectively, with the pair both carrying a revised complement of 66 kilos success ballast.

Infiniti's Richard Hawken completed his first BTCC running in the Support Our Paras Racing Q50 in 26th position.