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DTM Brands Hatch Day One report as it happened

Friday, September 02 2011

02/09/2011 - Audi's Miguel Molina produced a surprise as he opened the Brands Hatch round of DTM by setting the fastest time in free practice, one of the highlights of an entertaining first day at the Kent circuit.

Nippon Challenge Qualifying: The Subaru Imprezza of Adrian Howells was the star of the field in the Nippon Challenge by securing pole position in the final session of day one of the Brands Hatch DTM weekend.

The Daihatsu Charade of Yaser Almaghbri provided Howells with a challenge for pole psoition but the Subarau snatched the all important place on the front row by 0.054s.

Lotus Cup UK: Steve Williams looks set for a successful weekend after topping the time sheets in Friday afternoon's Lotus Cup UK free practice session.

Williams, who came so close to victory at the MSVR Donington Weekend last time out, was three tenths of a second faster than Doug and Chris Setters Lotus Exige. Marcus Jewell was just a fraction slower in third ahead of Jamie Stanley's Lotus Exige.

Racecar Euro-Series: Eric Helary secured pole position for the first race of the Racecar Euro-Series after successfully converting his early pace shown in the morning's free practice session.

The Frenchman was pushed hard all the way through the session and in the end he secured pole position by a slim margin of 0.029s from Steven Palette. Ander Vilarino, driving a Chevrolet Camaro, was fourth fastest. Less than a second separated that top 12 which should produce an entertaining spectacle come the race tomorrow.

The second qualifying session, which saw the amateur drivers swap with their professional team mates, ended with Jo Merszei clinching pole position for race two. Romain Fournillier was second fastest just 0.297s adrift of Merszei.

Volkswagen Sciroco R Cup: Anthony Hamilton, the father of 2008 F1 champion Lewis, made his competitive track debut today in practice for the VW Scirocco R Cup. Qualifying and the race take place tomorrow (Saturday 3 September).

The race features several celebrity drivers from the world of motorsport and Anthony was joined by Johnny Herbert and Tiff Needell as well as son Nicolas, who is also racing for the first time this year, however he has completed two-thirds of a season of the Renault Clio Cup.

Mark Blundell and rally champion Mark Higgins are expected to join in the action tomorrow, meanwhile Herbert was top celebrity with twelfth, Needell nineteenth, with both Hamiltons at the tail of the field as they get to grips with the bio-natural gas-fuelled turbo-charged cars.

The series often runs cars for 'legends' and last year Mark Blundell scored a popular podium finish, with trophies awarded by his former sparring partners Damon Hill and Perry McCarthy.

Meanwhile amongst the title contenders for the series, championship leader Mateusz Lisowski topped the times, with British hope Daniel Lloyd two tenths down in fourth. Lloyd is second in the table, with less than a win between him and Lisowski.

DTM Free Practice: Audi pairing Miguel Molina and Edoardo Mortara were fastest in the opening practice session for this weekend's DTM round at Brands Hatch. The Mercedes-Benz cars of Maro Engel and British hope David Coulthard were third and fourth, as the 2008 cars prevailed over the newer models.

The session started with a great deal of frantic activity in the pitlane as the drivers adjusted setups based on the brief roll-out session at the start of the day, which is used to allow the competitors to acclimatise to the circuit. Very few complete lap times were posted and for a while Britain's Susie Stoddart was the only entry on the timing screen.

When the drivers did eventually take to the track in anger, Dutchman Renger van der Zande, driving a 2008 Mercedes C Class, held the fastest lap for some time, but he remained a couple of seconds adrift of Paul Di Resta's pole lap from last year. Christian Vietoris then dropped into the late 42 second bracket with an hour of the session remaining.

The dry and sunny conditions allowed the drivers to push hard and many of the cars were using as much of the track as they could. However with limited sets of tyres for the weekend, many of the drivers were lapping on older rubber to save their best for qualifying and the race.

Once drivers started to try out new tyres in the final half hour of the session, Ralf Schumacher lowered the mark by a few hundredths of a second to go fastest. Mike Rockenfeller was next, the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hour winner still a second and a half slower than last year's pole time. Mortara and Molina, too, enjoyed spells at the top of the timesheets, the latter proving to be difficult to shift, reflecting the Audi Sport Team Abt Junior Spaniard's impressive form here last year.

Meanwhile Coulthard took an impressive third place, just under a tenth off of the ultimate pace, signalling the final efforts of the drivers in this first timed session. Just a few cars remained on track and whilst Maro Engel's Mercedes took third, none were able to topple Molina.

Coulthard remained top of the British contingent, ahead of Rockenfeller and highest-placed title contender Timo Scheider. Ralf Schumacher was seventh, with Vietoris, Mattias Ekström and van der Zande completing the top ten. Gary Paffet was eleventh, Jamie Green fourteenth, Oliver Jarvis sixteenth and Susie Stoddart seventeenth. Meanwhile title contenders Bruno Spengler and Martin Tomczyk were twelth and fifteenth respectively.

As the session ended the cars completed their traditional start practice, before returning to their garages. The next DTM session is Practice two at 9am tomorrow (Saturday).

DTM Practice session 1:

1. Miguel Molina, E, Audi Sport Team Abt Junior, Audi A4 DTM 2008, 42.776s
2. Edoardo Mortara, I, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi A4 DTM 2008, +0.036s
3. Maro Engel, D, GQ AMG Mercedes, AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008, +0.086s
4. David Coulthard, GB, Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes, AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008, +0.086s
5. Mike Rockenfeller, D, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi A4 DTM 2009, +0.101s
6. Timo Scheider, D, Audi Sport Team Abt, Audi A4 DTM 2009, +0.123s
7. Ralf Schumacher, D, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes, AMG Mercedes C-Class 2009, +0.171s
8. Christian Veitoris, D, Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes, AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008, +0.179s
9. Mattias Ekström, S, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi A4 DTM 2009, +0.207s
10. Renger van der Zande, NL, Stern AMG Mercedes, AMG Mercedes C-Class 2008, +0.273s

MSA Formual Ford Championship of Great Britain: The Jamun Racing car of Jeroen Slaghekke will start from pole position in the first of three MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain races at the Brands Hatch DTM Weekend.

The Dutchman edged championship leader Scott Malvern to pole position by a narrow margin of just 0.243s. Australia's Geoff Uhrahane was a fraction slower, as he grabbed third on the grid in what proved to be an incredibly tight qualifying session. Spike Goddard will join the Australian on row two in fourth. The top 14 were covered by just over a seocnd.

Lotus on Track Elise Trophy: Stuart Rowland set the early pace in this morning's free practice session for the Lotus on Track Elise Trophy.

The Deftness Motorsport driver was half a seocnd faster than multiple race winner Luigi Mazza. Phil Stratton-Lake, who came close to winning at Brands Hatch earlier this season in July, was third quickest eight tenths a of a second slower than Rowland. Qualifying for the Elise Trophy will take place at 11:20am on Saturday morning.

Racecar Euro-Series: The NASCAR style Racecar Euro-Series was the first competive on track action to open the DTM Weekend at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

The Helary racing Team entry of Eric Helary and Manu Brigand set the fastest time during the hour long free practice session. The Dodge Charger set a time of 49.812s around the 1.2 mile circuit, which was two tenths of a second quicker than Olivier Pernaut and Phillipe Marie Dodge Charger. This is th first ever visit to Brands Hatch for the Racecar Euro-Series and the top six were split by just nine tenths of a second.

02/09/2011 - The world's fastest touring cars roar into Brands Hatch this weekend (2/4 September) for the seventh round of the 2011 DTM Championship.

The German-based touring car series (DTM) sees powerful V8 rear-wheel drive cars battle for honours over a 98 lap race that features two pitstops for fuel and tyres. Cars from rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz will lap the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in a little over 40 seconds, making for frantic action throughout the field.

Joining the DTM in a superb race schedule, is the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup, the FIA backed Racecar EuroSeries, MSVR's Lotus Cup UK and Elise Trophy, MSA Formula Ford and the Nippon Challenge.

For live updates for each qualifying session and race keep checking this site throughout the day. Don't forget to follow us on twitter @MSVRacing.

Photos by Simon Hildrew and Andy Kelly.