For the second round running Javier Morcillo put the Azteca Motorsport Mosler on pole for the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship, hauling the brutish MT900 around Rockingham's tight infield.
Morcillo was second in the car during the 45-minute session, following teammate Manuel Cintrano into the cockpit of the no.3 Mosler. Taking the car over after just over half the session elapsed the car, which finished second at Silverstone, lay in tenth, but after only a handful of laps, Morcillo began to march up the order.
He moved into seventh, then into second with a lap of 1:21.291 behind the Strata 21 Mosler being driven by Paul White and Callum Lockie. Then with eight minutes remaining and on the 16th lap of his eventual 22, Morcillo laid down a 1:19.944 around the 1.94 mile International Sportscar layout – a time that made him the only man to surpass 87mph during the session.
“It seems the car is suited to the track by the result, but the two good things of the Moslers in the fast corners and the amount of torque that it has,” says Morcillo. “It doesn't have much power in our car, but it has a lot of torque. So with the slow corners it helps a lot.”
“It is a physical track,” he adds his voice to a number in the paddock. “It works the other direction to normal, so especially with our car we're feeling sore in the neck on all the left hand corners. There are three of left hand corners, all very fast and after half an hour you can feel it.”
Strata 21 held onto second to set up an all-Mosler front row, though his best was still nearly seven-tenths behind Morcillo's marker.
The KJ&TG sponsored Dodge Viper of Aaron Scott and Craig Wilkins was third quickest. The MJC Ferrari – winners in the season opener struggled on a track that Witt Gamski says doesn't suit the car – a fact bound to be compounded by the two-and-a-half-hour-race disadvantaging the always slow to warm up 430 GTC.
The champions will start behind the Panic Racing Lamborghini, in fifth and the F430 GTC and the McInerney's Eclipse Motorsport Ferrari, the pair making their first Britcar start of the year.
Jay Shepherd made it a double celebration in the Neil Garner pit, adding a GT Class 3 pole to the Azteca car's overall honour.
“It's a very technical circuit and obviously it's very important to get a good balance on the car,” said Shepherd. “We've had new Nitron suspension put on and the car's not been tested at all before yesterday so we're trying to find the settings but the car's handling very well. The tyres are looking really nice when they come off the car after a session but we're working on the bump and the rebound and that sort of area just right so we're not getting too much dive and oversteer under braking.”
“But the car felt good, I did three of four laps just to set a pace and watch the competition, didn't want to spoil the tyres of anything so we just sat [in the pits]. It was getting really close I think Andy Schulz in the Ferrari drove really, really well. We thought we'd hedged our bets a bit too soon, come into the pits a bit early but it turned out well.”
Production honours went to the no.44 Topcats Ginetta G50 in twelfth overall. They will line up directly ahead of Kevin Clarke and Wayne Gibson's BMW M3 and the Smith family Reflex Racing Ginetta.
The APO Sport entered Seat Leon of Alex Osborne and James May lead small Production Class 2 field, with a lap of 1:30.109.
The early minutes of the session had been led by the production ranks, Gugliemi Motorsport’s Lotus Elise setting the very early pace before the Bullrun Ferrari stopped at the Brook Chicane – apparently with gearbox issues – to bring out a red flag.
The car returned to the pits, not completing a lap during the session. It was a similar story for the Synchro Motorsport Honda Jazz. After a promising day's testing on Friday had the team in positive mood the team elected to change the engine, after the sound of the engine firing before qualifying signalled a problem – driver Dave Allan suggesting a dropped valve. Opting for caution, and an engine change, Allan should be back on track for the race, though starting from the back.