Darelle Wilson was fastest in Free Practice for TCR UK / TCT. The DW Racing Opel Astra led a TCR 1-2-3 at Donington Park. Rain overnight meant the circuit was still damp at the start of the session, with times improving late on as a dry line emerged. Wilson had spent much of the session battling amongst the midfield runners, before a late run pushed him up to first with a 1min 17.639.
Wilson’s points rival Nick Halstead was quick to prove his Brands Hatch pace was no fluke. The Orange Motorsport driver was the first driver to drop below the 1min 18s mark, setting a 1min 17.832 in his Honda Civic TCR. He wasn’t the only TCR UK class driver looking to make an impact, as Lewis Kent was third overall, just 0.558sec behind. With the rules relaxed during practice, it was a golden opportunity for drivers to test out different setups on a damp Donington track.
This also meant that some drivers were more cautious than others, with BTCC driver Adam Morgan and VW Passat driver Paul Taylor some way off the pace of the field.
The other Team HARD driver Josh Coggan was quick to prove that the Passat was a car to be reckoned with, as he finished Free Practice as the fastest TCT runner with a time of 1min 18.523. Coggan, a winner in the VW Racing Cup is making his debut in the series this weekend, along with a number of others, including Will Neal who was one place behind Coggan in fifth overall. Driving his father’s Honda Civic NGTC Fk8 2000cc Will was under a second behind pacesetter Wilson as brother Henry Neal was seventh.
Henry Neal has won three of the four weekends in the TCT rounds and will be looking to add one more to his collection in the Honda Civic Type R Fk5, which father Matt Neal also drove in years past. He was only seventh overall as Stewart Lines in the Vauxhall Astra split the two Neal brothers.
TCR Europe driver Alex Morgan was a late entry for the weekend, racing his Renault Megane RS for Power Maxed Racing. The Brit, made a cautious start to the session, looking to test out the machine ahead of qualifying later today. He was 1.891sec behind Wilson in eighth overall. Ninth was championship leader James Turkington. Another driver not looking to damage his machine the Ciceley Motorsport driver was 2.1sec behind the Opel Astra.
Richard Woods is racing the Ford Focus S2000 for this weekend, setting his pace early in practice before the track had fully dried out. He was tenth overall, with Team HARD’s Darron Lewis behind him, as Adam Morgan and Taylor rounded the order.