Manning on form for home race

Darren Manning was highly motivated heading into his home race at Brands Hatch and he certainly delivered on Saturday. The Yorkshireman was fastest in the opening practice session, and he qualified a provisional fifth for Monday's 165-lap marathon around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit with a lap of 37.565s

Manning on form for home race

Manning credited a recent test at Portland International Raceway for the strong start to his Brands weekend. Despite crashing on the second day of the Portland test, Darren said the work that he and his Walker Racing team-mate Rodolfo Lavin accomplished at the Oregon road course was of immense benefit.

"Our starting set-up here was much better than it was for the first three races of the season and that's because of what we learned at Portland," Manning explained. "The car has been very good since my first lap today and it gave me a lot of confidence to push hard."

Manning thrilled the locals by running fastest of all in the first of two practice sessions Saturday morning and he believes he could have qualified in the top three in the afternoon.

"I got a bit crossed up at Druids and that cost me about two and a half tenths," said Manning. "That might have gotten me ahead of Oriol Servia and right on the heels of the top three. I don't see any reason why we can't get up there with them on Sunday."

Manning was by far the fastest Reynard runner, qualifying six places and 0.4s ahead of Jimmy Vasser.

"The Reynard isn't too bad here because it's so smooth," he said. "It's fundamentally a very good car, but it's hard to nail a consistent set-up. We're improving the car every time out and making significant progress."

Lavin cracked the top ten in practice for the first time in his Champ Car career but he suffered excessive understeer on his qualifying run and wound up 16th.

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