Simonsen Beats The Rain To Lead First Practice Times

by James Broomhead
Simonsen put the Ferrari fastest, the rain helped keep him there (Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

A perfectly timed lap from Allan Simonsen gave he and Hector Lester’s Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 GT3 the fastest time in the first practice session for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton.

Simonsen’s lap of 1:50.925 came with just under 20 minutes of the session remaining but, more importantly seconds before a downpour soaked the track and put any faster times out of reach of the field. Thus the Dane’s time was the only lap under the 1:51 bracket and was 0.394 seconds better than Joe Osborne’s best in the #8 888Optimum BMW Z4 GT3.

Osborne’s lap was one of a number of fastest times immediately after a lengthy red flag after only a few laps of running. Having slotted into second fastest behind Michael Caine Stephen Jelley stopped with a puncture on the far side of the three mile circuit in the #32 Trackspeed Porsche he shares with Gregor Fisken in the absence of Richard Westbrook this weekend.

Though Jelley was able to – eventually – drive the tartan car back to the pits it was the last involvement of the car in the session, which was extended by ten minutes as a result of the down time.

Once the session restarted Osborne took the lead of the session in the car he shares with Lee Mowle. In his wake Alvaro Parente of United Autosports and M-Sport‘s Warren Hughes argued over second fastest, cutting their deficit to the best time before Simonsen went faster and Phil Keen split them in taking fourth ahead of the M-Sport Audi.

Drivers continued to lap on the wet track – with rain expected to punctuate the weekend – but with times pushed from 1:50 toward 2:20 there was no impact made on the timesheets despite the rain stopping to allow the track to begin the slow process of drying.

Nick Tandy was sixth fastest in the #31 Trackspeed Porsche. Micheal Caine and Ahmad Al Harthy took seventh fastest ahead of the Team LNT Ginetta G55 GT3 piloted to its best time (1:52.433) by Richard Sykes. Laps from Benji Hetherington and Aaron Scott completed the top ten for Fortec Motorsports and AF Corse.

Optimum Motorsport‘s Ginetta G50 shared by Rick Parfitt Jr and Ryan Ratcliffe set the best time in GT4, nearly a second faster than APO Sport’s similar car.

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