Neal fastest in Rockingham practice

Matt Neal set the pace in practice for the second round of the British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham

Neal fastest in Rockingham practice

The double champion was second quickest in the morning session before improving his pace by almost two tenths of a second during the afternoon and climbing to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1m23.626s.

The Honda driver's time was a second inside the lap record as the BTCC's new specification tyres performed well in both dry sessions.

Chevrolet's Jason Plato was 0.054s slower than Neal, his best time also coming in the second session after a sensor problem blighted his morning running.

Tom Chilton set the pace in the morning session in his Arena Ford, and that was enough to put him third overall on the timesheets.

His Arena team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole was next up, ahead of Gordon Shedden's Honda and the Triple 8 Vauxhall of James Nash, who is making his first appearance in the BTCC since Rockingham last year.

Andrew Jordan was the best of the drivers using the TOCA turbocharged engine, the Eurotech Vauxhall man seventh and one place ahead of Alex MacDowall's Chevrolet.

Mat Jackson was the fastest BMW driver in ninth in his Motorbase-run car, although he missed out on vital track time due to a holed radiator in FP1 and an overheating differential in the afternoon.

The morning session was red-flagged for almost 10 minutes after Matt Hamilton spun his TH Motorsport Honda into the tyres exiting the Gracelands left-hander. He was late starting the second session while his mechanics repaired damage to the front end of the car.

 Combined practice times: Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Matt Neal Honda 1m23.626s 2. Jason Plato Chevrolet 1m23.680s + 0.054s 3. Tom Chilton Ford 1m23.693s + 0.067s 4. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford 1m23.815s + 0.189s 5. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m24.119s + 0.493s 6. James Nash Vauxhall 1m24.233s + 0.607s 7. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 1m24.413s + 0.787s 8. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet 1m24.413s + 0.787s 9. Mat Jackson BMW 1m24.439s + 0.813s 10. Steven Kane BMW 1m24.488s + 0.862s 11. David Pinkney Vauxhall 1m24.667s + 1.041s 12. Rob Collard BMW 1m24.802s + 1.176s 13. Paul O'Neill Honda 1m25.044s + 1.418s 14. Andy Neate BMW 1m25.359s + 1.633s 15. John George Honda 1m25.486s + 1.810s 16. Tom Boardman SEAT 1m25.530s + 1.904s 17. Matt Hamilton Honda 1m26.231s + 2.605s 18. Shaun Hollamby Volkswagen 1m27.045s + 3.419s 19. Arthur Forster BMW 1m27.184s + 3.548s 20. Martin Johnson Vauxhall 1m27.562s + 3.926s 
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