Series veteran Gary Simms had to fight off both George Gamble and Ollie Chadwick in order to claim the two pole positions on offer from qualifying for the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge at Oulton Park.
Early in the session Simms, driving for new team Buddy Racing appeared to have a margin comfortably in hand as a lap of 1:52.978 kept him 1.3 seconds ahead of Chadwick, who joins the series after a Ginetta Junior campaign in 2013, and Gamble who made a similar switch to join the GT5 series last year.
However, the closed in. First Chadwick, then Gamble cut Simms’ advantage to just four tenths, Gamble the faster of the young drivers, but only by 0.008s as Chadwick began to wind up his reply as the session arrived at the closing minutes.
Gamble then made another jump up the order, this time onto provisional pole as his 1:52.791 fractionally quicker than Simms’ best before Chadwick’s 1.52.856 moved him onto pole.
Simms, however, would have the final say, sneaking below 1:52 by a single hundredth to take back pole position, this time for good despite personal bests from both Gamble (1:52.382) and Chadwick (1:52.790).
Instead the lap after Simms’ 1:51.999 which gave him pole for the season opener he secured race two pole position, his 1:52.288 the best of the second fastest times.
Gamble and Chadwick will swap places on the grid from the first to second races, Chadwick to line up second to close out Saturday’s racing.
Mark Davies will start fourth for the opening race with Stewart Linn fifth, but like Chadwick and Gamble they will swap starting slots for the final race.
Stuart Pearson will lead the Ginetta G20 to the green flag for both races, his best lap a 1:57.024 – more than two seconds faster than Alex Preston’s best effort that helped him secure second fastest in both races.