Team Parker Racing, Garage 59 & Century Motorsport take British GT poles


Rivals would only end up seeing the rear of the Team Parker Bentley throughout qualifying (Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com)

Team Parker Racing has taken double pole position for Monday’s two one-hour British GT Championship races at Oulton Park after a dominant session for Rick Parfitt and Seb Morris. In GT4, Black Bull Garage 59 and Century Motorsport took pole positions.

British GT’s separate Pro and Am qualifying sessions were perfected for setting the two grids, Ams set the race one grid and Pros set the race two grid.

Up first was GT3 Am and, keeping with every other British GT session today, there was a quick red flag in the session as Derek Johnston found himself stranded at Lodge. There was no visible damage done to that car, but he wouldn’t take any further part in the 10 minute qualifying session.

When qualifying got back underway, the session boiled down into a fight between Parfitt and Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw. Parfitt would strike first with a 1:35.715 before Minshaw stuck the Lamborghini four tenths ahead and onto provisional pole – carrying on the team’s good form from free practice.

However, as the chequered flag came out Parfitt pulled a lap out of nowhere to take another four tenths out of the pole time, setting a 1:34.932.

Third place would be the Macmillan AMR Aston Martin Vantage, with Jack Mitchell setting a 1:33.343 in his first qualifying session in GT3. Behind him was Liam Griffin in what was a great performance for the second Barwell car, proving that the Lamborghinis have found a groove around the Cheshire circuit.

Morris would replicate Bentley’s blistering pace in Pro qualifying as he clocked a time – just after the halfway mark – of 1:32.993. The first ever sub 1:33 lap of Oulton Park.

Finishing second, replicating the front row for the first race, was Phil Keen – his 1:33.128 closing in on the 1:33 barrier but not quite finding those extra tenths that Morris had managed to pull out.

Third place went to Sam Tordoff, in his first British GT qualifying session, after pulling out a late flyer in the form of a 1:33.343 to move up from sixth onto the second row. Joining him on the second row is Callum MacLeod in the second Team Parker Bentley who ended a tenth ahead of Jon Barnes, who was provisionally pole at the start of the session but couldn’t sustain the front-running pace.

Mike Simpson scored a scorching pole in GT4 Pro in his first session back in GT4 (Credit: Nick Smith/TheImageTeam.com)

In the GT4 class, poles were split between the two most populous marques on the grid as Sandy Mitchell secured first place for race one in the Garage 59 McLaren 570S and Mike Simpson took the Century Motorsport/University of Bolton Ginetta G55 GT4 to pole with the fastest lap of the day.

In the Am side of proceedings, early pace was set by Will Tregurtha in the HHC Motorsport Ginetta who set a 1:43.119 to close to within 0.016s of Mitchell, who had set a 1:43.103 with four minutes left in qualifying and promptly pitted a lap later, knowing he probably wouldn’t be able to do any better.

His team-mate Haggerty would improve that time though as he dropped to a really low 1:42.663. That though, wouldn’t help him secure pole as Simpson struck before half-time with a 1:42.591.

Starting in third in the pro class will be David Pittard, who put in a good lap in the Lanan Racing Ginetta – helped by the fact that he didn’t suffer from the same problems Alex Reed faced in the Am session to see him start his 2017 British GT season on the back row.

Doing well in the Pro class was the RJN Motorsport Nissan 370Z as Martin Plowman made his presence felt again after a year away from British racing with a 1:43.150 to put the Nissan third.

The first British GT race on Monday begins at 11.10am with full coverage on The Checkered Flag.