MGR Motorsport have locked out the front row of the grid for both Protyre Formula Renault championship races at Brands Hatch on the Indy Circuit. The Leicestershire based team claimed the top spot with Matteo Ferrer and Pietro Fittipaldi for races one and two respectively.
The first session saw a close battle for the pole between the Italian and Brazilian drivers. Ferrer struck first, setting his fastest lap on his twelfth tour, a 45.751 which would stand despite late improvements from Alex Gill, Tarun Reddy and Patrick Dassault among others. Fittipaldi popped up on his penultimate lap to go 0.114 seconds behind the #21, securing the front row for the team. Fortec Motorsport’s Alex Gill and the third MGR car of Tarun Reddy fill the second row, with the Indian ‘One in a Billion’ winner just 0.011 behind his rival.
A third row lockout for Cliff Dempsey Racing confirms the team’s steady rise in form since the media day. TJ Fischer from the States headed Canadian Patrick Dassault, laying down his marker on lap sixteen of twenty-three and almost daring Dassault to better him. The #23 fell just 0.107 short of the target.
Colin Noble Jr’s MGR managed, family run car carried him to seventh, three hundredths behind the CDR row of the grid. Hillspeed’s sole racer Dimitris Pananastasiou lines up on his outside with series debutant Hayden Edmonds in a strong ninth for MTech Lite with SWB Motorsport.
A challenging session for Piers Hickin left the Scorpio Motorsport driver battling Atte Lehtonen in the #27 SWB Motorsport car while Jack Butel filled his almost customary position at the back of the field.
The second session ran to a similar story though the front row reversed itself to give Fittipaldi the top spot. A 45.953 put him on top on lap eight, with the entire field working for the remaining session time to match his pace. Pietro parked it after fourteen tours when it became clear he would not improve. Ferrer put his best time in. 0.195 down on the pole sitter on his eleventh lap and parked it six laps later.
Gill continued to be a comforting top three presence for Fortec with Piers Hickin in fourth. The Scorpio man rounded out a top four covered by less than three tenths of a second after a time set in the mid-session scrummage. This was true for all the drivers with the exception of the SWB run cars of Edmonds, Lehtonen and Butel, who waited until later in the session to put in their quick laps.
Tarun Reddy will line up on the inside of the third row for the second race ahead of his MGR team mate Noble, who found stronger form in the second session and bettered both of the Cliff Dempsey Racing drivers. Again, in the CDR camp it was Fischer who came out on top.
Papanastasiou again qualified down the order, in ninth of twelve runners, though you couldn’t blame the Greek’s pace. The top nine were all covered by less than eight tenths of a second. Hayden Edmonds set the pace for SWB’s three cars in the session with Lethtonen and Butel rounding out the grid.
The first of two races for the Protyre Formula Renault championship at Brands Hatch gets underway just after lunch on Sunday.