Collard sets practice pace at Brands

Rob Collard set the pace in practice for the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch

Collard sets practice pace at Brands

The Motorbase BMW driver's quickest lap of 48.941 was faster than Yvan Muller's eight-year-old qualifying record around the Kent circuit and came mid-way through the second of two sessions during Saturday morning.

Vauxhall driver Matt Neal was second quickest, 0.056 seconds slower than Collard. The former double champion also set his best time in the second session, which was held in warmer conditions than the earlier one.

Neal's new team-mate Andrew Jordan was third fastest, while Colin Turkington was next up in his WSR BMW. Turkington set the pace in the morning session, which began in damp before drying out towards the end, but he was unable to improve on his time later on.

Gordon Shedden was the best of the Team Dynamics drivers and set the fifth quickest time in his Honda Civic, while Motorbase driver Jonathan Adam was next up in his BMW.

Reigning champion Fabrizio Giovanardi was only seventh quickest, although the Vauxhall driver's best time was less than two tenths of a second off the pace.

Turkington's team-mate Stephen Jelley was eighth, one place ahead of Jason Plato. The 2001 champion, who only signed a deal to race an RML Chevrolet Lacetti earlier this week, spent both sessions honing his set-up.

Completing the top 10, just over half a second down on Collard, was Adam Jones - although the Clyde Valley SEAT driver only managed eight laps during the second session. His team-mate Dan Eaves was back in 14th after suffering from a power steering failure in the opening session.

The Arena Fords were off the pace in both sessions with Tom Chilton and Alan Morrison just 16th and 17th quickest, while Maxtreme driver Liam McMillan had his second session cut short due to an engine problem.

Combined times: Pos Driver Car Time 1. Rob Collard BMW 48.941 2. Matt Neal Vauxhall 48.997 3. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 49.004 4. Colin Turkington BMW 49.006 5. Gordon Shedden Honda 49.079 6. Jonathan Adam BMW 49.097 7. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall 49.102 8. Stephen Jelley BMW 49.234 9. Jason Plato Chevrolet 49.335 10. Adam Jones SEAT 49.587 11. Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet 49.708 12. John George Honda 49.865 13. David Pinkney Honda 49.949 14. Dan Eaves SEAT 50.012 15. Martyn Bell Honda 50.182 16. Tom Chilton Ford 50.366 17. Alan Morrison Ford 51.199 18. Liam McMillan SEAT 51.225 19. Martin Johnson Vauxhall 51.264 20. Nick Leason BMW 52.385 
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Neal on pole for Brands Hatch opener

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