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Hondas on fire in BTCC first practice at Snetterton

Friday, August 10 2012

Andrew Jordan topped the first free practice session today (Saturday) ahead of this weekend's Snetterton round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Honda Racing's Gordon Shedden was second, however it was a tough session for the works team with the car catching fire moments before the chequered flag.

Most of the teams spent the early minutes working on a base set-up for their cars but Rob Austin stayed out and set the first representative time of just over two minutes. As Mat Jackson gave the new NGTC Focus its first lap, Jason Plato and Andrew Jordan replaced Austin at the top of the table, with the MG then setting the first sub-two minute lap.

Next up was Shedden, who took half a second off Plato's time, but the two-time champion fought back to close the gap. However both were demoted by Jordan in the Pirtek Civic and by a considerable margin.

Meanwhile Mat Jackson's new Focus had only completed a couple of laps and was currently 24 seconds off the pace. He wasn't the only Jackson suffering at this stage as local man Ollie's VW Golf was missing a gear or two and subject to frantic activity in the garage.

Reigning champion Matt Neal hadn't even completed a lap at the halfway stage and with little more than ten minutes to go returned to the pits after a brief sighting lap.

Whilst the very top of the order remained static in the later part of the session, Dan Welch recorded a fine lap time for sixth place, a year on from his series debut with the Proton. Newcomer Robb Holland acquitted himself well with a solid 17th place.

Just as Neal finally set a pair of competitive lap times, ending up in fifth, Honda's joy turned to despair as Shedden left the pitlane with the engine bay on fire. Huge flames engulfed the Civic's bonnet and the car was saved by quick work from the marshals, however the team will have their work cut out to get the car ready for the second session at 12:20.

Plato held on to third place, with the first S2000 car of Tom Onslow-Cole in fourth. Behind Neal, Adam Morgan was a fine sixth, from Austin, Welch, Aron Smith and Frank Wrathall.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Free Practice 1

1, Andrew Jordan, Pirtek, Honda Civic, 1:58.431s
2, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +0.553s
3, Jason Plato, MG Racing, MG6, +0.563s
4, Tom Onslow-Cole, eBay Motors, BMW 320si, +1.035s
5, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +1.142s
6, Adam Morgan, Speedworks, Toyota Avensis, +1.499s
7, Rob Austin, Rob Austin Racing, Audi A4, +1.599s
8, Daniel Welch, Welch Motorsport, Proton Persona, +1.605s
9, Aron Smith, Redstone Racing, Ford Focus, +1.653s
10, Frank Wrathall, Dynojet, Toyota Avensis, +1.814s

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton on 11/12 August are available on the gate for £13 on Saturday and £30 on Sunday, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.