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Practice report
BTCC Snetterton (300 Circuit)

BTCC Snetterton: Hill and Thompson top free practice

Jake Hill and Bobby Thompson led the way in free practice for the third round of the British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton.

Bobby Thompson, Team BMW

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As the dismal British spring climate brought rain sweeping in from the North Sea across East Anglia, Thompson quite literally made a splash on his BTCC return – and his debut in a rear-wheel-drive tin-top – by topping the second session in his West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport.

But Thompson’s FP2 time was 0.209 seconds shy of the FP1 effort of Hill, who was top of the pile in that opening 35 minutes of running by a gargantuan 0.461s from the Allied Racing-run NAPA Ford Focus ST of Dan Cammish.

Thompson was on course for second in FP1, before last-lap improvements from the Fords of Cammish and reigning champion team-mate Ash Sutton split him from WSR BMW stablemate Hill.

Hill was third in FP2, in between the Focuses of Cammish (second again) and Sutton (fourth), with the same leading quartet across both sessions, albeit in a different order,

“I’m very happy,” said Hill, who struggled last time out at Brands Hatch and had a spin at Oggies in FP2. “It’s a much nicer car than it was at Brands. I can play with it, I can have fun with it, I’m just enjoying it.

“We’ve got a decent ‘wet’ car underneath us – it’s working well, and we’ve just got to make it count.”

Thompson ended FP2 0.382s clear of Cammish, on his first BTCC outing since October 2023.

Apart from a one-day test at Brands early last month, the Essex racer’s only time in the BMW was at the team’s shakedown at the MIRA proving ground on Thursday.

Jake Hill, MB Motorsport

Jake Hill, MB Motorsport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“If it’s one condition on track all day, that’s good for me,” said Thompson. “Selfishly, I just want it to stay like this for the rest of the day.

“I didn’t want to take too much risk, and it feels scrappy at my end – I’m sideways everywhere but I haven’t spun yet!”

Keeping up the theme of the leading contenders being at the sharp end in both sessions, four-time champion Colin Turkington was fifth in both in WSR’s leading Team BMW machine, albeit behind the sister cars of Hill and Thompson.

Rob Huff, whose last BTCC outing at his home circuit came several years before it was extended from its old 1.9-mile length, was also in the top seven in both sessions and finished up sixth overall in the best of the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota Corolla GR Sports.

Tom Ingram’s FP1 time was good enough for seventh overall in his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N, while sixth spot in FP2 for Mikey Doble put the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra driver in eighth across the two sessions.

The top 10 was rounded out by Tom Chilton (Excelr8 Hyundai) and Adam Morgan, whose WSR BMW pranged into the barriers at Turn 3 during FP1 but got out for the beginning of FP2.

Of the leading championship contenders, the FP2 order means that Hill, Turkington and Ingram will all run in the first group in the opening phase of qualifying, as will Thompson, while Sutton will go in the second group – along with Cammish and the whole of the rest of the four-car Allied squad.

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