Shock And Gaw: Late Laps Put Aston Ahead In First Practice


Gaw set the two fastest laps of the session in the #6 Vantage (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

In the final two laps of an interrupted first practice session for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship John Gaw set a pair of laps good enough to put the PGRKinfaun AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he shares with Phil Dryburgh fastest.

In a session in which the track was ever improving Gaw made a move to the top of the timesheets late on, setting a best lap of 2:02.893 to push Allan Simonsen down to second with his penultimate lap. On his final lap – as the checkered flag brought the session to the end – Gaw was under the 2:03 barrier again (2:02.970). It was a second consecutive lap that would have been good enough for the best time in the session.

Despite improving on his own best time in the final minutes of the session Simonsen (a man who spent last weekend driving for Gaw at the Nurburgring) ended the session second fastest on the return of the Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 co-driven by Hector Lester.

Simonsen and Gaw were the final two drivers to take the top spot in the session when a total of ten different teams spent time at the top as times tumbled throughout the 60-minutes session. Michael Caine, Joe Osborne, Richard Abra, Matt Griffin, Dan Brown, Alvaro Parente, Nick Tandy and Richard Westbrook all took their turn to lead a GT3 class more than 30 cars strong.

Matteo Bobbi put the Vita4One Team Italy Ferrari third fastest with Westbrook’s best lap good enough to put the Rockingham winning Trackspeed Porsche fourth fastest. Trackspeed’s #33 was fifth ahead of the Team LNT Ginetta G55 GT3 that Mike Simpson put fleetingly second fastest, the team having narrowly missed out in a podium in last season’s three hour Silverstone race.

Joerg Viebahn was the quickest man in GT4 in the Pro Sport Performance Porsche. The team – Viebahn sharing with Brit Adam Christodoulou – are one of the GT4 teams joining the grid fighting for points in the Avon Tyres GT4 Trophy. Another of the European visitors was second fastest with third – and the best of the British GT regulars – going to Optimum Motorsport’s pairing of Ryan Ratcliffe and Rick Parfitt Jr.

David Jones crashes the Preci-Spark McLaren heavily on cold tyres (Credit: Tom Loomes)

The session was stopped within the first ten minutes to facilitate clear-up after David Jones has spun the PreciSpark McLaren backwards into the wall at Maggotts in an accident that looks likely to end the team’s weekend without the #22 entry completing a lap.