Championship leader Simon Freeman set the pace by nearly three tenths of a second amid changeable weather conditions in the opening Michelin Clio Cup Series practice session at Brands Hatch.
Weather conditions proved a factor, with rain arriving around halfway through the session hampering lap times before a red flag with five minutes on the clock prematurely ended the morning’s running.
Pitbull Racing’s Freeman, who arrives at the 1.19-mile Kent circuit two points clear of the absent Luke Pinder atop the Race Series standings, clocked a best lap time of 54.901s to go quickest in a session shared with the MG Owners Club Championship.
That proved enough to eclipse MRM’s Tyler Lidsey by 0.273s in the fastest of the Sport Series entries, the fourth-generation RS Clio 220 another three tenths ahead of Westbourne Motorsport’s Aaron Thompson in turn.
Team-mate Tony Verhulst was classified fourth, with reigning Road Series champion Nic Harrison fifth, just 0.025s ahead of James Joannou in the second MRM-prepared machine.
Richard Colburn came next, ahead of current class points leader Darren Geeraerts, another aiming to build on a podium double at the Silverstone season-opener five weeks ago.
The rest – Westbourne trio Ronan Pearson, Paul Bell and James Colburn - elected to sit out the session but will return to action in qualifying at 16:05 this afternoon.
For the full session result, click here.