TF Sport converted their impressive practice pace into a maiden pole position of the 2017 British GT campaign, with Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes charging the #11 Aston Martin to top spot at the Donington Park season finale.
In the title duel, Barwell Motorsport drew first blood, surging into third and one spot ahead of the fourth-placed #31 Team Parker Racing Bentley.
The penultimate GT3 qualifying session of the year opened with Mark Farmer snatching top spot away from Ben Tuck‘s #69 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55, emphatically powering the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin into provisional pole by over a second.
Title-fighter Jon Minshaw soon halved the deficit to Farmer, claiming second but still five tenths back of Farmer’s impressive first flying lap.
A memorable lap from the debuting JRM Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO saw GT4 winner Charlie Fagg charge to second, closing to within three tenths of Farmer’s leading time.
With seconds remaining, a crucial moment in the championship battle saw Rick Parfitt Jr muscle the #31 Team Parker Racing into second spot provisionally, whilst Minshaw could only muster fifth behind the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin of Derek Johnston.
A disappointing seventh for Liam Griffin damaged Barwell’s chances of using the second Lamborghini as a rear-gunner to fend off the advances of the #31 Bentley.
After the first 10 minute session drew to a close, the final GT3 qualifying period began with the pro category drivers to decide the final lineup for the crucial Donington decider.
Electrifying speed from TF Sport once again saw Barnes and Adam charge to first and second respectively, with the two Barwell Lamborghinis following up behind.
Determined to salvage Bentley’s title hopes, Seb Morris fired beyond Phil Keen into third spot provisionally. However, a cold-blooded Keen responded with a brilliant effort to regain third, shoving fierce adversary Morris outside of the top three.
Despite demolishing the lap-record, Adam’s pulsating last-gasp lap time wasn’t enough to displace Barnes at the front, who claimed TF Sport’s first pole of the 2017 campaign.
GT4’s qualifying started with Am competitor Adam Balon igniting Track-Club‘s Pro/AM title hopes, posting a session best time early on. McLaren were displaced at the front by Brands Hatch pole-sitter Will Moore‘s #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin, after which the red flag was waved following a high-speed shunt for Tim Eakin‘s #54 Nissan 370Z.
Track-Club’s Pro/AM rivals took centre stage with two minutes remaining in the restarted session, as the 2016 GT4 champions Optimum Motorsport charged to the lead before Moore once again snatched provisional pole.
Dean MacDonald launched his Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren into second, whilst Graham Johnson rounded out the top three after the opening stage. Having been held up in an altercation with Nick Jones‘ Porsche Cayman, championship leader Will Tregurtha could only muster fourth, with rival Alex Reed struggling to sixth.
Buoyed by Moore’s impressive first session lap time, Matt Nicoll-Jones retained the lead for Academy Motorsport with a sensational lap time – opening up a nine-tenth lead ahead of Mike Robinson‘s #501 McLaren.
Joe Osborne‘s scintillating, GT4 best time could only elevate the #56 Tolman Motorsport McLaren to fifth overall following a troubled opening session for Osborne’s partner David Pattison.
Stuart Middleton sealed third for HHC Motorsport, who remain in prime position to defend their 25-point championship lead – pivotally three spots ahead on the grid of David Pittard‘s #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta.
Moore held on at the front to secure back-to-back pole positions in GT4 for Academy Motorsport, hoping this time to avoid the mechanical issues that forced an early retirement last time out at Brands Hatch.