BTCC: Muller fastest in Silverstone practice

BTCC: Muller fastest in Silverstone practice

Yvan Muller set the fastest time in the opening free practice session for the third meeting of the championship. Heavy overnight rain and light drizzle during the morning presented the drivers with challenging conditions as VX Racing driver...

Yvan Muller set the fastest time in the opening free practice session for the third meeting of the championship. Heavy overnight rain and light drizzle during the morning presented the drivers with challenging conditions as VX Racing driver Muller went quickest halfway though the session and improved on his time at the end.

Yvan Muller.
Photo by Dave Dyer.

West Surrey Racing driver Anthony Reid (MG SZ) was the first driver out of the pit lane and he dominated the opening laps by going fastest with a 1.39.400s lap which he improved to 1:37.610s over the rest of the run. SEAT Sport UK driver Robert Huff (SEAT Toledo Cupra) was also on the pace as he exchanged fastest times with Reid. Muller, along with team-mate Luke Hines, remained in the pit lane during the busy opening minutes before going out on an empty track to go fastest with a 1:37.062s.

The slippery track caught out several drivers with Matt Neal having a wild moment at Luffield on his first lap. The session was soon red-flagged after both Kartworld Racing driver Jason Hughes (MG ZS) and Team Petronas Syntium Proton driver Farique Hairuman (Proton Impian) spun off into the gravel in separate incidents.

The session restarted with fifteen minutes to go and, as the rain had stopped, the track was much fastest than before. Reid, Matt Neal (Honda Civic), Jason Plato (SEAT Toledo Cupra) and James Thompson (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) all improved their times on their first flying laps. Muller then pushed hard in the closing minutes to 1:36.891s to pull out a gap of nearly three-quarters of a second to Reid before returning to the pits.

The conditions were still very slippery and Richard Marsh spun his Team Quest Honda Civic Type-R off at Brooklands into the gravel. Huff also locked up and spun off the circuit forcing him to miss the end of the session. "It's the first time we've run the car in the wet" said Huff. "It's very slippery indeed but there is a lot of grip out there. There's a lot more time in the car in the wet and there's a lot more time in me. Hopefully it will stay wet!"

Kelvin Burt made a strong return to the series driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupe for Team Sureterm. The former British Formula 3 champion, Formula 1 test driver and BTCC race winner ran in the top ten for the whole of the session and ultimately finished in seventh place, ahead of the VX Racing pair of Michael Bentwood and Luke Hines.

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