The combination of Andrew Jarman and Jody Fannin upstaged the championship battle to take pole position at Donington Park for the final round of this year’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
The pair set a combined time of 2:58.193 to pace the qualifying session for the two hour race that will decide the identity of the 2015 champion.
“It was a very good qualifying for both of us,” Jarman told theCheckeredFlag. “The conditions have been mixed for everyone and we haven’t done much running in the dry so this was a step into the unknown but I’m really happy with the set-up we have for the car.”
“It is going to be a long race tomorrow so we hope to make something happen from pole. There are a few guys behind with a lot on their mind for this race so hopefully they can get on with their own battle and we can make the most of it.”
Jarman’s work in the first half of the session did much of the work. He was quickest of the ‘Ams’ by half a second over Andrew Howard in the #007 Beechdean AMR entry that will start the race as the best of the four teams capable of winning the championship this weekend. The 2013 champion’s co-driver, Jonny Adam, was quicker than Fannin in the second half of the session, his best lap of 1:28.610 reduced the gap between the two Vantages to just 0.259, but the buffer Jarman had afforded Fannin was enough for the TF Sport crew to confirm top spot.
“We’ve got a good position on the front row so we’ll see how tomorrow goes,” said Adam. “Andrew Howard did a really good lap in his stint and actually did a lot of the running in practice to get a handle on the conditions and that definitely paid off.”
Behind the two Astons Triple Eight men Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne will start the race from third. Mowle leapt into third in the very final moments of the ‘Am’ session and a 1:28.580 from Osborne maintained the position, though the lap – and so the pair’s cumulative total – had held provisional pole in the early in the session. Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw qualified the Demon Tweeks sponsored, Barwell Motorsport run BMW Z4 GT3 fourth with championship leaders Ecurie Ecosse fifth fastest.
Marco Attard had put the #1 BMW only equal 11th after the first half of the session. Works driver Alexander Sims was able, with the fastest lap of the entire qualifying session, to haul the car up to fifth. There are only two points between the Ecurie Ecosse and Beechdean teams in the championship standings, with the Triple Eight and #6 Oman Racing Team further behind – the #6 team will start the from eighth, behind the #17 TF Sport Aston and #10 VonRyan Racing Mclaren 650S, Andrew Watson unable to match the rest of the Pros to keep the fourth place taken by Ross Wylie in the first half of the session.
The #44 Team LNT Ginetta and 22GT Racing completed the top ten. The #32 Ginetta G55 GT3 ended its session in the Old Hairpin barriers.
ISSY Racing will start from GT4 pole after both Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw set the best laps in their respective sessions.
Kershaw’s second half effort moved the #77 Lotus Evora a half second clear of the rest of the field, headed by the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin of Will Moore and Dennis Strandberg. Moore finished the first half of the GT4 session just nine thousandths slower than Yusuf’s 1:37.732.
“Personally my qualifying session didn’t go well,” Yusuf told www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “I got held up by another car on my fastest lap so I couldn’t improve any on my early time. I always like to be as close to Gavan as possible so to be one second behind him is very disheartening, I always like to finish about half a second back. But we’re happy to claim pole, I think we’ve had more than any other team this year so this ends the season in style.”
“We’re very confident for the race tomorrow, we’ve done a lot of running practice so we’re used to the conditions and hopefully we can finish the season on a high with a victory.”
Newly crowned champions Ross Gunn and Jamie Chadwick will start 3rd, their combined efforts a little over a second slower than that of the Lotus crew.
The first GT4 session was halted by a red flag after three cars ended up off track in three separate incidents. Graham Coomes added his name to those who have spun into the McLeans gravel over the course of the day. Almost simultaneously Richard Williams pulled the smoking GPRM Toyota GT86 to the side of the Grand Prix loop and Ian Stinton in the Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 he shares with Nathan Freke.
Even the pole winning Lotus was not without Kershaw pitting then returning to the track as he and the team fought gear selection issues.
The final race of the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship is scheduled to start at 1pm. www.theCheckeredflag.co.uk will have live blog coverage of the race, and try to keep track of the championship contenders.