TF Sport, PMW World Expo take Rockingham British GT poles

by Joe Hudson

The #17 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam had scored pole position in the second round of the British GT Championship at Rockingham. Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have claimed GT4 pole in the PMW World Expo Racing Ginetta G55 GT4.

In the GT3 Am portion of qualifying Phil Dryburgh, in the Motorbase Performance car that raced at the Blancpain GT Series in Monza, spun coming out of Gracelands – there was no harm done to the car but it did mean they sabotaged the first part of qualifying, Dryburgh ended the first session in ninth.

Initially Andrew Howard in the #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin topped the timing sheets with a 1:18.179 but quickly Alisdair McCaig in the #79 McLaren 650S of Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse and then Johnston in the TF Sport Aston replaced Howard as the pole sitter.

Fastest outside of the top three in the Am session was Will Moore in the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS who set a 1:18.080. He was blocked from a third position by Howard improving on his time.

Into the Pro session where the times are combined to form a grid-setting aggregate and it was initially Joe Osborne in the venerable #7 BMW Z4 GT3 with a 2:36.277 but before it had time to settle at the top, Ryan Ratcliffe combined with Moore’s time to knock two tenths off the pole time.

However, before halfway in the 10 minute session Jonny Adam made his move for pole position and a 1:16.075 combined to make a 2:33.515. It appeared for a time that the #33 Demon Tweeks Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was fastest after Phil Keen logged a time well into the 1:15s. However, an error with the timing screen showed Keen’s first lap under Jon Minshaw’s name and a combined time faster than it should – they’ll start the race in fifth place.

Rob Bell will start in third place with a 2:33.553 in the McLaren 650S – almost one second ahead of Ross Gunn in the Beechdean GT3 who had an aggregate of 2:34.213.

Two cars didn’t take part in GT3 qualifying, the #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley is still battling with chassis damage suffered in FP1 and the #11 TF Sport Aston of Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes is having its engine replaced after the team discovered an issue before they could complete a single lap in both practice sessions.

The PMW World Expo Racing started and ended qualifying ahead of everyone (Credit: Nick Smith/

The PMW World Expo Racing started and ended qualifying ahead of everyone (Credit: Nick Smith/

The GT4 qualifying sessions was equally frantic for every position except pole! On his first lap through Graham Johnson clocked a 1:22.878 and would be the only entry into the 1:22s in the Am session of GT4 with the next fastest driver also in a Ginetta G55 GT4 – that was Sean Byrne in the #40 Century Motorsport car who set a 1:23.279.

One car that could have set a good time but didn’t have the opportunity to was the #73 University of Bolton backed Century car of Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke. A repeat of an engine problem the team thought they had dealt with earlier in the day struck at the worst possible time and Walewska had to abandon the car on the run off on the inside of turn one – the car will start at the back of the GT4 field.

Moving into Pro qualifying and Mike Robinson used his first flying lap to consolidate the #50’s pole position with a time of 2:45.088. That would put him more than one second ahead of Aleksander Schjerpen taking over from Sean Byrne, their combined time of 2:46.213 just squeezed the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 570S GT4 into third. Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty combined in the 570S for a 2:46.300.

Fourth place went to Jamie Chadwick and Matthew George in the Generation AMR SuperRacing Aston Martin Vantage with a 2:47.095 and fifth would eventually go to the Baby Beechdean Aston GT4 of Jordan Albert and Jack Bartholomew. They had a good scrap with Jordan Stilp in the RCIB Insurance Racing Ginetta, trading times for a spell in order to claim fifth place, eventually a 2:47.148 would confirm Beechdean’s fifth place.

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