Simonsen Beats Porsche To Lead Second Oulton Practice Session

by James Broomhead
Simonsen was fastest in the 2011-spec Ferrari 458 (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Allan Simonsen was the fastest man in the second 60 minute practice session for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, the Dane leading a top five comprised entirely of Ferrari and Porsche teams.

Simonsen, sharing the Rosso Verde Ferrari with Ulsterman Hector Lester, set the best time of the session – and the meeting so far – with a quarter of an hour left in the session. In doing so he leapt to the lead of what had – to that point – been a session dominated by the Trackspeed Porsches.

The first quarter of the session ended with the team’s three cars first, second and third with a Phil Keen lap occupying top spot in the Demon Tweeks sponsored #33 he shares with Jon Minshaw. Keen, fastest at that point with a 1:35.535 had deposed teammate Richard Westbrook, the Trackspeed veteran having led the way since the first flying laps of the session.

Nick Tandy slipped the #31 between the two to put the Porsche squad in a dominant position before Ferrari squads began to creep into the top bracket.

Vita4One Team Italy were the first of the Prancing Horse from the stable to stampede into the Porsche party, Matteo Bobbi going second fastest, only for Tandy to retake the spot minute later.

Only in the final 20 minutes did Simonsen make a move towards the top of the times, after Lester had driven a majority of the session, with a best lap of 1:35.439. Keen and Tandy’s laps held up under the challenge for second and third fastest while Westbrook’s effort slipping to eighth fastest.

Phil Keen lead the Trackspeed Porsche dominated early part of the session (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Phil Keen lead the Trackspeed Porsche dominated early part of the session (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)


Matt Griffin was fourth fastest for MTECH, Bobbi’s 1:35.914 – briefly second – ended fifth fastest. Jonny Adam, fastest in the opening session was the best non Porsche or Ferrari with his Beechdean Aston sixth fastest, ahead of Matt Bell’s United Autosports Audi.

John Gaw – in the other Aston on the grid after Mark Poole and Richard Abra’s late – business commitment inflicted – withdrawal was ninth fastest with Joe Osborne tenth in the #8 888Optimum BMW Z4 GT3.

Westbrook in eighth led the teams who had troubled first sessions with all but one team returning to run the full session. The unfortunate odd one out was the APO Sport GT4 Ginetta G50 of James May and Alex Osborne. After battling a holed exhaust in the first session the pair completed only a handful of laps in the second session in a car mysteriously down on power.

May, taking his first ever laps of Oulton Park, could only manage a best lap of 2:01.655 – 14 seconds slower than the class pace which was once again set by Declan Jones for Century Motorsport.

The Ginetta GT Supercup graduate took the lead in class with a lap (1.46.285) 1.3 seconds faster than Optimum Motorsport who had held the best time in class for the first 47 minutes of the session. Dan Eagling completed the top three for Redgate/Lifetime Racing, just five thousandths slower than Optimum’s Ginetta.

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