Reunited the Ecurie Ecosse pairing of Marco Attard and Alexander Sims took both pole positions on offer for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship meeting at Spa-Francorchamps.
While Sims missed the late June weekend due to clashing commitments Attard lost the championship lead over the course of the weekend but claimed pole position from the first of the two 15 minute sessions, each one setting the grid for one of the 60-minute races. Lapping the 7km track in 2:25.309 Attard claimed the team’s fourth pole of the season. Sims’ lap of 2:21.381 in the second session putting the Black Bull sponsored BMW Z4 GT3 on pole for the fifth time in eight races.
“Qualifying was excellent, we couldn’t wish for more than two poles,” said Attard. “I’m happy as earlier in the day I was a little off the pace, but we all did a great job in qualifying. Spa is a great track to be at, you have to excel at Eau Rouge and you’ve done half the battle. The Beechdean duo of Howard and Adam will be the biggest threat. We’re always watching out for them, and we expect Al Harthy and the Porsches to do well. We’re surprised by Ferrari’s results today, but they can get it together tomorrow and be a threat.”
For both races the #79 machine will line up beside an Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Ahmad Al Harthy set the second best time of the first session in Oman Racing Team entry he shares with Michael Caine. For the second race the space on the outside of the front row will be occupied by Beechdean AMR’s Jonny Adam.
Adam and co-driver Andrew Howard replaced Attard at the top of the championship points. Howard – the defending champion – will line-up third for the first of Saturday’s two races, ahead of the second Oman Racing Team Aston piloted by former BTCC driver Jeff Smith and Rory Butcher.
Pasin Lathouras completes the top five for the morning race in the #29 AF Corse Ferrari with Jon Minshaw on the other side of the third row in his Trackspeed Porsche, he and Phil Keen having scored their first win of the year at Snetterton. Seventh for race one are the best of the teams joining the British GT grid for the weekend with Yannick Mallegol setting best lap of 2:26.021.
For the second race Wolfgang Reip, reprising his role alongside Chris Hoy in the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN GT-R GT3 will start third alongside Tom Onslow-Cole in the Strata 21 Aston Martin.
Phil Keen rounded off a strong qualifying for the Snetterton winning Trackspeed team. John Gaw, who ended his Snetterton weekend as part of the major crash at Riches in race two will start from sixth ahead of the BMWs of Joe Osborne and Jonny Cocker. Osborne, the Triple Eight Racing Engineering man, outqualified Cocker who, having deputised for Sims at Snetterton, is part of the Team Russia by Barwell effort another to join the series for the weekend on the continent.
In GT4 Oli Basey-Fisher and Matt Nicoll-Jones gave Academy Motorsport both poles with times of 2:37.347 and 2:35.473 respectively.
“Everyone is a challenger here,” said Basey-Fisher. “On the long straights the likes of the Astons and Porsche are strong, but we proved we can be just as good too. We have a real chance of winning, just like everyone else. In the wet, we’re not sure as we’ve not tested in the wet, hopefully the car will adapt and do well.”
Twisted Team Parker will start the latter race from second courtesy of Bradley Ellis while James May set the second fastest time of the first session in the APO Sport Porsche 911. May, however, was also the cause of the sole interruption to the sessions preventing co-driver Alex Osborne from taking to the track in the second session.
The class leading Beechdean AMR team of Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings will start the two races from third and fourth in class.