TF Sport and Barwell Motorsport have shared pole positions for the two British GT Championship races at Snetterton. Lanan Racing and Beechdean AMR took the poles in the GT4 class.
First out were the GT3 Am drivers to set the grid for race one and it was clear from the start that the 10 minute session would boil down to only a handful of entries as Jon Minshaw carried on his form from Spa to set the initial pace with a 1:49.497 to fend off an early push by Alasdair McCaig in the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S.
Minshaw though was defenceless against a storming Mark Farmer who first jumped to second with a 1:50.040 before – just one lap later – he jumped up to pole with a 1:49.422 and Minshaw had no response to the TF Sport driver.
Behind them, and carrying on their good form from the Free Practice sessions, the second TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Derek Johnston leaped up to third place with a 1:50.285 to keep Lee Mowle’s AmDTuning.com BMW Z4 GT3 in fourth.
Elsewhere, the generally front running Bentley Continental GT3 of Team Parker Racing could only finish sixth with Rick Parfitt unable to match the pace of those ahead.
When the Pro drivers came out, whatever issue the Bentley experienced was compounded by the fact that co-driver Seb Morris could only qualify down in ninth for race two.
Taking pole for the second race was Phil Keen, who went one better that co-driver Minshaw and set an early 1:47.167 to leave his rivals in his wake.
After the session Keen talked to TCF about his pole position: “I think it’s great, Jon did a mega job [in his session] and we want to score as many points as we can this weekend and hopefully not go into Donington with a penalty. Barwell have done a great job with the car, and bearing in mind the car was at the Spa 24 hours last weekend they’ve all done a fantastic job.”
Finishing a close second – only 0.049s behind – was Jonny Adam in the #17 TF Sport car. His late lap looked like he would be in with a good chance of snatching pole away but an ever so slightly slower middle sector kept the Scot in second place.
Third place went to the second Barwell Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Alexander Sims who set a 1:47.624.
In GT4 Am, the session was a lot less frenetic but there was still a lot of talent on display as the Mitchells – Sandy Mitchell in the McLaren 570S and Jack Mitchell in the Generation AMR MacMillan Racing Aston Martin – got a good fight going early in the session before Alex Reed in the Lanan Ginetta G55 GT4 struck pole twice in two laps as he lowered his first time down to a 1:57.809 just a lap later.
Three-tenths behind was Graham Johnson in the class leading PMW World Expo Racing Ginetta who couldn’t break into the 1:57s. Behind Sandy Mitchell would eventually finish the session in fourth with Jack Mitchell just behind.
GT4 Pro saw an absolute domination by Ross Gunn in the #407 Beechdean Vantage as he set the class’s fastest time of the day with 1:56.710 to go half a second faster than Matthew George in the Generation AMR SuperRacing Aston who set a 1:57.215 on his very first lap.
It was a mixed session for George who caused a red flag to see the session end two minutes early as he hit the barriers at turn eight – the car suffered front-end damage but thankfully the driver was alright.
Third went to Joey Foster in the Lanan Ginetta who will be hoping to convert their two brilliant starting positions into two good race results come 6pm tomorrow.
After the session, Beechdean’s Jack Bartholomew told TCF he and Ross were looking forward to tomorrow, but an issue meant he couldn’t get the best from his session. He said: “Ross did an amazing job to be starting on pole for race two, I’m not so happy with my session because we had a problem with the car earlier on in the day so we had to make some changes and I didn’t think to check the ABS settings and the boys had turned it off. That meant I had a massive lock-up at turn two on my first lap and the tyres were pretty much a write-off from then and the car became very difficult to drive.
“Overall though, it’s not a bad start to the weekend.”