Max Hart will be favourite to maintain his points lead after becoming the only driver to drop into the 1min 07sec mark throughout the short 10 min Free Practice session for Goodyear Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK.
A low fog clouded the circuit for much of practice, though the drivers remained undeterred as they headed out onto track at 08:30 sharp for the start of their Bank Holiday showcase. It was a short 10-minute session for the full grid as the Kent brothers were the first out on track in the cool conditions.
Jac Constable was the first man to set a lap time, quickly lowering the benchmark and becoming the first driver to drop below the 1min 10sec barrier. Castle Combe Alex Kite, who is entering for the first time with Grant Motorsport this weekend, initially topped the times, but remained quiet until the closing stages of the session when he too jumped below 1min 10sec.
As the session drew to a close, the times continued to tumble, with Max Hart in his Hyundai i30 taking top spot with a 1min 07.899. 0.771 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor and fellow joint points-leader Lewis Kent.
Kent, as well as Alex Kite, would improve at the dead of the session and although it would be enough to get both within a second of Hart it was not enough to topple the Irishman. New for this weekend, Kite left the session as the leading Cupra TCR, setting a personal best of 1min 08.873. For his first competitive session, Kite’s time may prove ominous for the regular front runners come later in the day.
Behind the top three, Constable and Bruce Winfield completed the top five. Winfield, driving a Cupra DSG, will be looking to reassert his position as a podium finisher after a learning opening round. Driving the stunning Gold Area Motorsport car, the Milltek Civic Cup champion finished the session just 0.093 seconds ahead of Will Powell.
Leading the TCT competitors would be Team HARD.s, Darron Lewis. The Mercedes A Class NGTC recorded an overall podium at Silverstone and at a circuit that will be hard on the tyres could prove threatening at the end of the races.
He likely won’t have it all his own way though with Toby Bearne just 0.114 seconds further back. Bradley Kent was ninth by the time the flag fell as Dan Kirby rounds out the top ten. Further back would be William Butler and Danny Krywyj as series returnee Darrelle Wilson could only manage 2 laps in the Vauxhall Astra TCR.