Thompson top as Herbert joins test
|By Jamie O'Leary||Monday, July 13th 2009, 16:23 GMT|
James Thompson topped the timesheets at the second official British Touring Car Championship test of the summer at Rockingham - and then handed his car to former grand prix and Le Mans 24 Hours winner Johnny Herbert.
Two-time series champion Thompson took his Team Dynamics Honda Civic around the track in 1m25.410s during the morning session, which was held in dry weather. Even so, conditions were far from perfect, with Thompson's lap almost a second adrift of Tom Onslow-Cole's lap record of last year.
He then sat out the afternoon session, which began on a damp track before drying out, as Herbert - who has raced in the Middle Eastern-based Speedcar Series for the last two winters - took over the car and wound up 12th quickest after completing 36 laps.
When asked whether the test would lead to a race deal, Herbert said: "That was great fun and I've seen what these lads get up to during a race so who knows? Let's see. Foremost this was just to sample the car after the team asked me at Goodwood if I could do a bit of running to help with development.
"This was my first time on track in a BTCC race car, let alone a front-wheel-drive race car, but I'm very impressed with its performance and also the BTCC paddock set-up as a whole."
Thompson's closest challenger was Motorbase BMW's Jonathan Adam, who was quickest in the afternoon session, just two hundredths of a second slower.
Defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi, and his Vauxhall team-mate Matt Neal were third and fifth, sandwiching the WSR BMW of Stephen Jelley. All three were within six hundredths of a second of Thompson's time.
Jason Plato (RML Chevrolet), Rob Collard (Motorbase) and championship leader Colin Turkington (WSR) were next up, ahead of Andrew Jordan's Vauxhall and Herbert.
David Pinkney in the second Dynamics Honda and James Nash's RML Chevrolet were just outside the top ten, each within a second of the benchmark, while the slowest driver, Boulevard Vauxhall's Martin Johnson, did not take part in the afternoon session.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. James Thompson Honda 1m25.410s 2. Jonathan Adam BMW +0.020s 3. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall +0.031s 4. Stephen Jelley BMW +0.043s 5. Matt Neal Vauxhall +0.059s 6. Jason Plato Chevrolet +0.130s 7. Rob Collard BMW +0.319s 8. Colin Turkington BMW +0.396s 9. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall +0.534s 10. David Pinkney Honda +0.753s 11. James Nash Chevrolet +0.772s 12. Johnny Herbert Honda +0.962s 13. Martin Johnson Vauxhall +3.061s