HMS Racing's Rob Austin has topped the practice timesheets in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta for the first time during a British Touring Car Championship race weekend after setting the FP1 pace at Oulton Park.

Having secured a maiden podium finish for Giulietta during the opening round at Brands Hatch, Austin has endured a mixed bag of results since then, but the former BTCC winner signalled a potential upturn in form after leading the times in the 40-minute session ahead of Tom Ingram.

Austin's 1 minute 26.300s lap was good enough to beat the Toyota Avensis of Ingram by 0.1s around the Cheshire circuit, while Motorbase Performance's Tom Chilton completed the top-three order in third, just 0.016s back from Ingram.

BMW Pirtek Racing's Andrew Jordan, who will be looking to make up lost ground in the BTCC title race after being forced to miss the third Thruxton on medical grounds, set the fourth fastest time as the leading BMW runner.

BTC Norlin Racing's Chris Smiley looks set to maintain his strong start to the season after setting the fifth best time of the morning, ahead of fellow Honda Civic Type-R runners Matt Simpson and Brett Smith in sixth and seventh.

Following on from his strongest weekend of the season so far at Thruxton, Team BMW's Colin Turkington was eighth fastest, as Honda machinery continued to engulf the top-ten order with Jack Goff and Dan Cammish ending the session in ninth and tenth.

Elsewhere, reigning champion Ashley Sutton was 15th fastest for Subaru, while Jason Plato languished near the back in 30th.

 

 

 

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