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BTCC Brands Hatch: Ingram pips Hill to top free practice

Reigning British Touring Car champion Tom Ingram led the way across the two sessions of free practice for the 2023 season finale on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

JEP / Motorsport Images

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Ingram faces a mountain to climb if he’s to make it back-to-back titles – the only rival to three-time champion Ash Sutton is 45 points adrift heading into the competitive action – but he was on form in the opening session early on Saturday morning.

Ingram’s Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N headed the West Surrey Racing-run BMW 330e M Sport of Jake Hill by a mere 0.018 seconds in FP1, and neither driver’s times were beaten in the lunchtime FP2 session.

With the Brands weekend unusually featuring tyre choice for qualifying – the Goodyear medium or soft compound – most of the leading times were set on carry-over soft rubber from previous race weekends, including those of Ingram and Hill.

“It’s a weekend of maximum attack from our side,” promised Ingram. “There’s not really a lot what we can do [for the championship].

“We’re just going to do the best job we can, and if anything happens on Ash’s side we need to capitalise on it.”

Sutton, driving his Ford Focus ST run by the renamed Alliance Racing squad, was just 0.172s adrift of Ingram’s best in third fastest in FP1, but languished 18th later on – he was one spot behind 17th-placed Hill, with both on medium tyres, and his earlier best dropped him to sixth overall.

Up into third overall with the fastest time of FP2 came Josh Cook at the wheel of his One Motorsport Honda Civic Type R.

The West Countryman edged out Ricky Collard’s Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla by the tiny margin of 0.004s, and his second fastest time was also quicker than the Hampshireman’s best – by 0.001s.

Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra

Árón Taylor-Smith, CarStore Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Also on form was Bobby Thompson in his Team Hard Cupra Leon – the hard-trying Essex man went third in FP2, fifth overall, and set a time during an earlier run on medium tyres just 0.15s adrift of his best on softs.

Insight: The potential BTCC race winner trying to make it to the front

Fourth in FP2, and seventh overall behind Sutton’s FP1 time, was Silverstone poleman Mikey Doble with his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, just ahead of team-mate Aron Taylor-Smith.

Stephen Jelley’s FP1 best in his WSR BMW was good for ninth overall ahead of the sister machine of Colin Turkington, who was sixth in FP2 – the four-time BTCC champion set the quickest time on medium rubber in that session, just 0.021s ahead of Ingram, followed by Thompson’s medium effort.

Each session featured a red flag, with FP1 interrupted midway through when Adam Morgan parked his WSR BMW on Cooper Straight with a broken propshaft, and FP2 halted in the early knockings to retrieve the One Honda of Aiden Moffat from the Hawthorns gravel trap.

BTCC Brands Hatch - Practice results

FP2

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom J. Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing 66 Honda Civic Type R 13 1'30.784   96.487
2 United Kingdom R. Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 37 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 13 +0.004 0.004 96.483
3
B. Thompson Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
19 Cupra León 12 +0.095 0.091 96.387
4
M. Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
88 Vauxhall Astra 13 +0.135 0.040 96.344
5 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing 40 Vauxhall Astra 12 +0.147 0.012 96.332
6 United Kingdom C. Turkington Team BMW 4 BMW 330e M Sport 15 +0.183 0.036 96.293
7 United Kingdom T. Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 1 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 11 +0.204 0.021 96.271
8 United Kingdom T. Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 3 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 12 +0.241 0.037 96.232
9 United Kingdom A. Morgan Team BMW 33 BMW 330e M Sport 15 +0.245 0.004 96.228
10 United Kingdom D. Cammish NAPA Racing UK 27 Ford Focus ST 13 +0.285 0.040 96.186
11 United Kingdom R. Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 6 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 13 +0.313 0.028 96.156
12 United Kingdom A. Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing 11 Vauxhall Astra 13 +0.316 0.003 96.153
13
G. Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
42 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 13 +0.406 0.090 96.058
14 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK 32 Ford Focus ST 12 +0.410 0.004 96.054
15 United Kingdom S. Jelley Team BMW 12 BMW 330e M Sport 16 +0.414 0.004 96.049
16 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils 123 Cupra León 13 +0.483 0.069 95.977
17 United Kingdom J. Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 24 BMW 330e M Sport 12 +0.581 0.098 95.874
18 United Kingdom A. Sutton NAPA Racing UK 116 Ford Focus ST 12 +0.700 0.119 95.749
19 United Kingdom A. Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing 16 Honda Civic Type R 9 +0.790 0.090 95.655
20
R. Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
14 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 14 +1.070 0.280 95.364
21
J. Gornall Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
180 Cupra León 12 +1.181 0.111 95.248
22 United Kingdom S. Osborne NAPA Racing UK 77 Ford Focus ST 13 +1.275 0.094 95.151
23
D. De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
18 Cupra León 13 +1.456 0.181 94.964
24
D. Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
17 Cupra León 11 +1.503 0.047 94.916
25
J. Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
99 Cupra León 14 +1.668 0.165 94.747
26
M. Crees Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils
777 Cupra León 12 +1.822 0.154 94.589
27
N. Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
22 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 14 +1.865 0.043 94.545

FP1

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
Cla Driver # Car Laps Time Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom T. Ingram BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 1 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 11 1'30.712   96.564
2 United Kingdom J. Hill Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 24 BMW 330e M Sport 17 +0.018 0.018 96.545
3 United Kingdom A. Sutton NAPA Racing UK 116 Ford Focus ST 14 +0.172 0.154 96.381
4 United Kingdom R. Collard Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 37 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 14 +0.203 0.031 96.348
5 United Kingdom S. Jelley Team BMW 12 BMW 330e M Sport 14 +0.251 0.048 96.298
6
B. Thompson Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
19 Cupra León 12 +0.278 0.027 96.269
7 United Kingdom C. Turkington Team BMW 4 BMW 330e M Sport 16 +0.312 0.034 96.233
8 United Kingdom R. Butcher Toyota Gazoo Racing UK 6 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 14 +0.463 0.151 96.074
9 United Kingdom D. Cammish NAPA Racing UK 27 Ford Focus ST 15 +0.505 0.042 96.029
10
G. Gamble Toyota Gazoo Racing UK
42 Toyota Corolla GR Sport 15 +0.759 0.254 95.763
11 United Kingdom J. Cook One Motorsport with Starline Racing 66 Honda Civic Type R 14 +0.840 0.081 95.678
12 United Kingdom T. Chilton BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8 3 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 14 +0.852 0.012 95.666
13 Ireland A. Taylor-Smith CarStore Power Maxed Racing 40 Vauxhall Astra 14 +0.883 0.031 95.633
14 United Kingdom D. Rowbottom NAPA Racing UK 32 Ford Focus ST 14 +1.067 0.184 95.441
15 United Kingdom A. Moffat One Motorsport with Starline Racing 16 Honda Civic Type R 13 +1.077 0.010 95.431
16 United Kingdom A. Morgan Team BMW 33 BMW 330e M Sport 10 +1.089 0.012 95.419
17
M. Doble CarStore Power Maxed Racing
88 Vauxhall Astra 14 +1.318 0.229 95.181
18 United Kingdom D. Lloyd Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils 123 Cupra León 12 +1.352 0.034 95.146
19
R. Pearson BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
14 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 15 +1.440 0.088 95.055
20 United Kingdom S. Osborne NAPA Racing UK 77 Ford Focus ST 14 +1.472 0.032 95.022
21 United Kingdom A. Watson CarStore Power Maxed Racing 11 Vauxhall Astra 14 +1.518 0.046 94.975
22
D. Patterson Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
17 Cupra León 13 +1.656 0.138 94.833
23
D. De Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
18 Cupra León 14 +1.837 0.181 94.647
24
M. Crees Autobrite Direct with Millers Oils
777 Cupra León 12 +1.892 0.055 94.591
25
N. Halstead BRISTOL STREET MOTORS with EXCELR8
22 Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance 15 +2.939 1.047 93.534
26
J. Edwards Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD.
99 Cupra León 10 +4.166 1.227 92.324
27
J. Gornall Go-Fix with Autoaid Breakdown
180 Cupra León 9 +5.287 1.121 91.246

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