The Ecurie Ecosse BMW of Marco Attard and Jonny Cocker has secured pole for the first of two Avon Tyres British GT Championship races at Snetterton for Sunday. Attard had the car for the first qualifying session deposing the #29 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Pasin Lathouras to take the top spot in the quick fire double qualifying format for sprint races. In the second session it was Jonny Adam for Beechdean AMR who had the pace, setting a fantastic time to secure the top spot on his first flying lap.
Attard produced a 1:51.122 to take the pole, a time good enough for nineteenth when the pros took over for qualifying 2.
In qualifying 1 however it was up to the gentlemen drivers to establish the grid for the first race and initially it was the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Phil Dryburgh and PGF-Kinfaun AMR who set the quick laps first. Dryburgh wouldn’t keep up later in the session however and first the #29 machine would drop him from the top spot, followed by another four cars, settling the #6 machine into 6th place on the grid.
AF Corse wouldn’t have it all its own way though and as the session passed the halfway point Attard hit the gas pedal hard. Having hovered around third for much of the session the #88 was already in a good position but a succession of purple sectors blew away the completion, Attard lapped 0.559 seconds faster than the Lathouras Ferrari, shared by Richard Lyons.
Mark Poole put the #38 Aston Martin of MP Motorsport into fourth on his last flying lap, with Jon Minshaw’s Trackspeed Porsche a close fifth. The PGF-Kinfaun AMR car lost out on the top five by just 0.002 seconds.
Beechdean boss Andrew Howard put the #7 car into seventh place with Gary Eastwood’s FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia in eighth. Ninth went to the #888 BMW of Derek Johnston with Ahmad Al Harthy in tenth for Oman Racing Team.
GT4 netted a home pole for the Lotus Evora of ISSY Racing and Oz Yusuf, a feat which his driving partner Gavan Kershaw would duplicate in the second qualifying session. Century Motorsport grabbed second in class with the Morten Dons driven Ginetta G55 GT4 while Beechdean AMR grabbed third thanks to Jake Giddings.
Perrenial GT4 front runners Team Parker Racing suffered a terrible session by their standards. Barrie Baxter couldn’t find the pace and despite turning in five flying laps, three are required to qualify, placed 31st of 31. Adrian Barwick in the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta fared only marginally better, securing 30th position overall.
Qualifying 2: Aston Martin Flies to Pole.
The second session was like night and day compared to the first. Not only were the pros now behind the wheel but a red flag mid-session left drivers scrabbling to get in the required number of flying laps in the time available. Jonny Adam was the first out and of course he set the opening fastest time. He immediately backed that up with the pole time, a 1:48.979.
Adam Carroll continued to impress with the pace of his FF Corse Ferrari, shared with Gary Eastwood. The #18 car was only 0.554 off the pace set by Adam when the track returned to green following the red flag interruption. The #88 of Joe Osborne took third in a session where the top seven were covered by only a second.
The red flag came as a result of a gearshift problem for the #17 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3. Steven Kane was left stranded trackside when the failure hit and Bernard Cottrell decided that it was best to neutralise the session to recover the car. It took no further part in qualifying and didn’t set a single lap time. The team are convinced that the car will take the start tomorrow for the first race and will be somewhere near competitive.
Race 1 pole sitters Attard and Jonny Cocker will start the second race tomorrow from fourth place but only just. The #21 Strata 21 Aston Martin of Tom Onslow-Cole missed the spot by only 0.001 of a second in a late flyer which fired the car up the order. It also demoted the Audi of United Autosports, driven by Matt Bell, which had troubled the top spot at points during the session but kept finding traffic when it was least wanted. Bell took sixth ahead of the #29 of Richard Lyons.
Phil Keen took eighth in the Trackspeed Porsche he shared with Minshaw, keeping Richard Abra’s MP Motorsport Vantage behind while once again Oman Racing Team rounded out the top ten. This time it was Rory Butcher who set the time in the #5 Aston Martin compared to Al Harthy in the #4 who took the same spot in Q1.
GT4 again went to the Lotus Evora, Gavan Kershaw proving that should the mechanical woes which have afflicted the car hold off, the #77 cannot be ignored as a chance for victory. The two Parker teams were back on form for the second session though, with Dan Cammish taking second in class in the 996 GT4 he shares with Barrie Baxter. With the Team Parker Racing Porsche in second it fell to the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta to take third, almost a second clear of Tom Oliphant’s Century Motorsport Ginetta in fourth.
The racing for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship gets underway tomorrow morning with a one hour sprint at 11:40. Coverage from thecheckeredflag.co.uk continues with a live blog of the race from Snetterton. Overnight coverage of the ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours continues with regularupdates on the site and major events covered live on twitter via @tcfsportscars.