Practice: Neal and Muller on song

Honda's Matt Neal and the Vauxhall Astra of Yvan Muller set the pace in the two free practice sessions for this weekend's British Touring Car Championship race at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit

Practice: Neal and Muller on song

Neal, who is running 24 kilos lighter than most of his rivals - and 66 kg less than championship leader James Thompson - after his double no-score in the opening round, was an impressive four tenths quicker than anyone in the first 40-minute session.

In contrast, the same amount of time separated Muller in second from Phil Bennett's 11th quickest Proton. Gavin Pyper was the quickest of the Independents in his GA Motorsport Astra, an excellent fifth fastest overall, while Luke Hines set the pace in the production class in a Honda Civic Type-R.

Running was interrupted by a nine minute red flag period caused by Tom Chilton, who put his Honda into the tyres on the exit of Surtees. The new Peugeot 307 of Carl Breeze continued to suffer teething troubles, with a water pump failure costing him valuable track time. However, team-mate Dan Eaves had a more encouraging outing and was 12th fastest.

The second session was much more competitive than the first, with a number of drivers taking turns at the head of the times. Eventually it was Muller who came out on top, with a great effort of 49.478s, which was as impressive for the fact that he was running with 30 kg of success ballast as it was considering the Astra's bodywork was damaged following an off at Paddock Hill.

Warren Hughes was second quickest for MG, who rediscovered their Brands Indy form after being surprisingly off the pace in the first session. Colin Turkington was fourth fastest, while Anthony Reid was sixth. Matt Neal was the fastest Honda in third, but team-mate Alan Morrison would have set the pace had he put all his fastest sector times together over one lap...

Rob Collard pipped Pyper for Independent bragging rights, while Michael Bentwood improved by three tenths from the first session to record the best Production Class time in his Edenbridge BMW.

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