Rob Barff Heads First Practice at Rockingham

by James Broomhead
Barff put the FF Corse Ferrari fastest in the opening session (Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography)

With a lap that came late on in the 60 minute opening practice session Rob Barff led the opening free practice session for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Rockingham.

Barff, in the FF Corse Ferrari he shares with Gary Eastwood waited until just three minutes remained in the session to lap the Rockingham International Long in 1:24.165. Barff bumped Joe Osborne from the top spot, the Triple Eight Race Engineering man having, himself, deposed the United Autosports Audi from its long held position atop the times.

There may have been further late improvements if not for a red flag deleting the final 90 seconds of running after Paul White spun and crashed the Strata21 Aston Martin on the exit of Chapman. He and Tom Onslow-Cole have switched from Nissan to Aston Martin ahead of the race, but their new charge was returned to the pits with heavy front end damage after contact with the tyre wall.

Matt Bell had established UA’s Audi at the top after the exchange of times early in the session.

His lap of 1:24.809 held the top time for a majority of the session with Phil Keen second fastest in the Trackspeed Porsche co-driven by Jon Minshaw and Horsepower Racing third fastest after an Andy Schulz lap that briefly put the dark red Aston at the top of the times.

Schulz’s time was pushed to sixth fastest come the end of the session, Warren Hughes slotting the #12 Trackspeed Porsche also driven by Jody Firth ahead of their teammates to finish the session fourth quickest.

The #8 Triple Eight BMW of Derek Johnston and Luke Hines was seventh fastest with duos from AF Corse, Generation Bentley Racing and Oman Racing Team completing the top ten, former BTCC driver Liam Griffin drafted in to pair Rory Butcher in the #5 Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Though their GT3 team ended the session just 15th fastest Beechdean AMR’s junior team topped the GT4 class, Ross Wylie responsible for a lap of 1:31.502 in the #407 Vantage GT4 he shares with Jake Giddings. Gavan Kershaw was second fastest in ISSY Racing’s Lotus Evora.

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship weekend at Rockingham continues with a second free practice session scheduled for 12:15pm with the half hour qualifying session starting at 3:45pm.

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