Canny Plato tops Knockhill practice

Jason Plato and James Thompson headed the times after free practice for the BTCC's annual Knockhill meeting.

Canny Plato tops Knockhill practice

Thompson drew first blood, sitting on top of the times after the first session on a wet track, with Plato taking over at the top in the later dry session. Plato didn't take to the track at the start of the second session, instead making a last minute decision to switch to full dry setting. This decision was vindicated as he wound up almost 0.4s quicker than team mate Yvan Muller, who used a compromise set-up in the early part of the session. Thompson split the pair in the Egg Astra.

Fears expressed by Plato before the meeting that Knockhill's long uphill straight would exaggerate the effect of the extra weight carried by the three top Astra pilots proved unfounded as he, Thompson and Muller again stayed clear of the pack. The rest looked pretty evenly matched both in session one when engine notes were filtered through the traditional Knockhill Scotch mist and in the later dry session. Steve Soper was fourth fastest for Peugeot in the wet, almost a second down on Thompson. He was followed by Thomas Erdos (the Brazilian making an impressive debut in the Lexus), Phil Bennett and Dan Eaves. All three were within 0.2s of Soper's time.

In the dry, Bennett moved into fourth place, followed by Soper Eaves and Erdos, again closely matched with 0.138s between Bennett and Erdos. Tom Ferrier completed the BTCT field in the JSM Alfa 147.

Roger Moen stole a march on the BTC Production gang with a last lap flyer on the drying track. Full wets were definitely the order of the day early in the session, but Moen fitted slicks mid-way through practice and by the end they were up to temperature and he was a full 2.5s clear of the field.

Jim Edwards Jr also went the slick route, but he didn't time his change quite so well. Nevertheless second quickest time was a boost for the reigning Clio champion. Scots Gavin Pyper and Gordon Shedden should feature at the front in the races. They were the class of the pack on a wet track and Pyper in the GA Janspeed Alfa 156 was just a thousandth quicker than Shedden, who was making his debut in the GR Motorsport Ford Focus usually driven byRichard Meins. Though both hit trouble before the track dried - Pyper blowing an engine in the Alfa and Shedden breaking the gearbox casing - they hung on to third and fourth fastest times.







Jason Plato (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 55.378s
James Thompson (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 55.511s
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 55.775s
Phil Bennett (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 55.919s
Steve Soper (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 56.019s
Dan Eaves (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 56.039s
Thomas Erdos (ABG Motorsport Lexus IS200) 56.057s
Tom Ferrier (JSM Alfa Romeo 147) 56.819s



Roger Moen (HTML Peugeot 306) 1m00.840s
Jim Edwards Jr (TCR Honda Accord) 1m03.386s
Gavin Pyper (GA Janspeed Alfa Romeo 156) 1m03.717s
Gordon Shedden (GR Motorsport Ford Focus) 1m03.728s
James Kaye (Barwell Honda Accord) 1m04.035s
Mat Jackson (GR Motorsport Ford Focus) 1m04.043s

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