Taylor-Smith leads Team HARD 1-2 in opening Knockhill practice

Aron Taylor-Smith and Bobby Thompson lead the way for Team HARD during a greasy first BTCC practice at Knockhill.
Aron Taylor-Smith (IRL) - Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing Cupra
Aron Taylor-Smith (IRL) - Yazoo with Safuu.com Racing Cupra

Aron Taylor-Smith led a surprise Team HARD one-two during the first British Touring Car Championship running of the Knockhill weekend after setting the pace ahead of Bobby Thompson in FP1.

With the opening 40-minute session beginning under greasy conditions, the track gradually improved as the 29-car field created an ever-drying line around the iconic Scottish circuit.

It was BTC Racing's Josh Cook who led most the running while the track conditions were at their worst. However, Taylor-Smith produced a sensational lap out of nowhere and leapt to the top of the timesheets, with his Cupra Leon team mate Thompson following in-tow.

Taylor-Smith's 53.088s effort was good enough to lead the field by almost 0.5s ahead of Thompson, but still remains some three-seconds shy of the existing BTCC lap record.

Despite being one of the drivers to cause two red-flags during FP1, Power Maxed Racing's Michael Crees recovered to set the third fastest time ahead of title contender Cook in fourth.

Toyota Gazoo Racing UK's Rory Butcher ended FP1 quickest of the four-strong home contingent. The Toyota Corolla driver was fifth fastest ahead of top BMW runner Jake Hill in sixth.

Former three-time champion and home favourite Gordon Shedden produced a lap good enough for seventh fastest, while Dan Cammish, George Gamble and Ash Sutton completed the remainder of the top-ten.

Elsewhere, championship leader Tom Ingram just missed out on the top-ten in 11th, while Jason Plato and Colin Turkington wound up in 16th and 17th.

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