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Perfect start for new Alfa as Austin tops Donington BTCC test

Tuesday, March 27 2018

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship burst into life at Donington Park today, with Rob Austin setting the fastest time in the official Media Day test.

After the full 32 car grid was revealed this morning, the test proved once more how competitive the series is, with the top-16 drivers covered by less than one second.

Austin's time in the brand new Alfa Romeo Guilietta was 0.164s quicker than Tom Chilton in the Shredded Wheat Ford Focus, with double champion Colin Turkington third in the BMW 125i.

Returnee Sam Tordoff was fourth in his Motorbase Ford Focus, just 0.043s ahead of Andrew Jordan's BMW, who in turn was a mere 0.013s ahead of Josh Cook, who has switched to the Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra for 2018.

Jack Goff was seventh in the new look WIX Racing with Eurotech Honda Civic, just 0.011s ahead of Adam Morgan's Mercedes A Class. Tom Ingram's Toyota Avensis and Chris Smiley's Honda Civic Type R completed a top-10 separated by just over half a second.

The new Halfords Yuasa Honda Civics of Matt Neal and Dan Cammish were 13th and 14th, while reigning champion Ash Sutton and title winning team mate Jason Plato were 20th and 29th.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Donington Park test top-10:

1. Rob Austin, Alfa Romeo Guilietta, 1m10.074s
2. Tom Chilton, Ford Focus RS, +0.164s
3. Colin Turkington, BMW 125i M Sport, +0.280s
4. Sam Tordoff, Ford Focus RS, +0.341s
5. Andrew Jordan, BMW 125i M Sport, +0.384s
6. Josh Cook, Vauxhall Astra, +0.397s
7. Jack Goff, Honda Civic Type R, +0.450s
8. Adam Morgan, Mercedes A Class, +0.461s
9. Tom Ingram, Toyota Avensis, +0.494s
10. Chris Smiley, Honda Civic Type R, +0.568s.

The cars will be out at Brands Hatch on Thursday 29 March for a second official test ahead of the opening rounds at the Kent circuit on 7/8 April. Spectator entry to the test, which will run from 9am until 5pm with a one-hour break for lunch, is free.

Tickets for the BTCC at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April available from £28, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.