Michael Meadows maintained his 100% in qualifying for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, though he left it until late in the Thruxton session to record the back to back laps needed to put his Redline Racing entry on pole for both of Sunday's races.
Meadows' jump to the top of times happened with only a minute of the session left as he bettered Richard Plant's lap first by a quarter of a second, then by seven tenths as he logged what would be become the fastest lap of the session on the pole lap for round five for the 2012 championship. The checkered flag flew, stopping any of his competitors from improving, Plant remaining second fastest as just 0.081 ahead of Parr Motorsport's Ben Barker in third. Chris Dymond, returning in the second Parr entry after missing the Donington rounds was an impressive fourth.
The session took place in changing conditions with the drives initially starting the session on wet tyres, though several returned to the pits to wait for conditions to change as they discovered a circuit that was too wet for slick tyres, but too dry for wet tyres.
The conditions allowed different drivers to shine. Celtic Speed's Rory Butcher was the somewhat surprising pace setter for much of the session. He took the provisional pole almost straight from the start of qualifying with a lap of 1:21.257 with early chasers Barker and Jonas Gelzinis more than four-tenths adrift.
After a pitstop Gelzinis improved to pole position, only for Butcher to reply after his own pitstop, proving his early session pace was not a mirage in the wet conditions. All the while the track was drying. Barker was the first man to dip below 1:20 to take pole from Butcher by more than a half second but, though Barker's lap was completed on wet Michelins it was clear that the session would be settled on slick tyres.
That was made clear when ProAm1 runner Oly Mortimer leapt from 17th to ninth overall into second in class behind benchmark Ahmad Al-Harthy.
Plant – to only man other than Meadows to take a win so far in 2012 – made his own bid for pole late on before Meadows crossed the line less than a minute later to stamp his authority on the session.
Had the checkered flag not come out when it did times would doubtless have improved further, and so those who swapped on slick tyres latest were at a disadvantage. Barker clung onto third fastest on his wet-shod time amid late improvements from Dymond and Daniel Lloyd, who will start race one fifth, but Butcher previously pole sitting time fell to sixth fastest.
The changing conditions mean that – save for pole man Meadows – the two grids look radically different. Plant and Butcher will swap grid slots of the second race, Butcher starting from a Carrera Cup career best of second, with Jonas Gelzinis starting third for race two. Dymond, fourth for race one will start from mid pack ninth for the second race, while Sam Tordoff, ninth fastest overall will start from fifth based on second fastest times.
Al-Harthy, swapping the heat of his native Oman for the Hampshire damp will take a healthy ProAm1 advantage into both races as he starts from pole for both races with several Pro class cars between he and his nearest rivals – Mortimer for race one, Victor Jiminez for race two.
As at Donington Park Tania Mann is the only ProAm2 driver entered and so will pick up maximum points so long as she finishes the races