Team Parker Racing and Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse have claimed GT3 and GT4 poles for the British GT Championship’s trip abroad to Spa-Francorchamps in a qualifying session that was struck by rain.
The first session, for the Am driver in GT3, was actually dry throughout and it was Hunter Abbott in the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 who put the first competitive lap time on the board with a 2:24.015, he’d improve again to a 2:23.155 but he’d be relegated down to second place at the end of the 12 minute session.
That’s because Alasdair McCaig in the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse GT3 McLaren 650S hooked an awesome lap together and went top with a 2:22.394.
When the pro times came in in the second session, McCaig’s time combined with Rob Bell’s time to put them with an aggregate of 2:21.390 to set a time that looked good enough for pole. However, a decent time by Rick Parfitt was combined with a stonking time by Seb Morris (2:18.782) to record a 2:21.348 and sneak pole by a whisker for Team Parker Racing.
In third, and carrying on their good form from free practice two, was the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer who linked for a 2:21.719 before the rain came down and the red flag was called for.
Specifically, the red flag came out because the #63 Grasser Lamborghini of Rolf Ineichen was caught out by what was quite heavy rain and beached himself in the gravel at Stavelot.
In GT4 qualifying, the rain continued to fall on the back end of the circuit with teams deciding safety was the best option with many teams opting for wets even though the run from Stavelot up to Eau Rouge was near enough bone dry.
Times got faster as a dry line started to form on circuit with the Lanan Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 of Joey Foster jumping up to first with a 2:51.821 knocking almost two seconds off the previous fastest time of PMW World Expo Racing and Graham Johnson.
That said, Foster didn’t have much time to enjoy his fastest time as Sandy Mitchell decided the McLaren 570S looked better in first place and stuck a 2:50.913 in the books to ensure he ended the Am session with a handy lead.
He’ll be glad he did as Ciaran Haggerty also decided the McLaren was best starting from the front row and absolutely stormed the the second part of GT4 qualifying with a 2:43.993 to ensure that they would be starting on pole position for the second time in two races. Their combined time was a storming 2:47.453, three-tenths faster than their nearest British GT4 rival.
That rival lining up behind the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse car is the Lanan Racing Ginetta with Joey Foster and Alex Reed combining for a 2:50.465 – only one-tenth ahead of the Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 of Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke, the latter of whom was one of a few – including the pole-sitting McLaren – to take the gamble on slick tyres on a rapidly drying track.
Elsewhere, the championship leading Beechdean AMR Aston Martin of Jordan Albert and Jack Bartholomew will start in eighth and a lot of cars behind where they’ll ideally want to finish to maintain their points lead. Also of note, the sister car of reigning GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick and newcomer Paul Hollywood will start 53rd out of the 61 cars entered after a chastening first qualifying experience for the Great British Bake Off judge.
The top three in the Competition102 GT4 European Series sees the #108 Racing Team Holland by Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4 take pole by just three-tenths of a second from Reiter Young Stars Team Hohenberg in the KTM X-Bow GT4. In third was the sister Ekris M4 which was only a tenth behind and eager to make it an all Ekris front-row come the end of the first lap.