Optimum Take British GT Pole at Brands Hatch

by Jean-Paul Hackett

Optimum Motorsport made it back to back pole positions at Brands Hatch this afternoon, thanks to the efforts of drivers Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam.

Neither Haigh or Adam set fastest times in their respective qualifying sessions. Instead, their third pole of the season, and second in as many rounds, was built on sheer consistency.

The Optimum Motorsport squad’s chances were improved when TF Sport suffered a nightmare qualifying session. Mark Farmer span his Aston Martin into the Paddock Hill Bend gravel trap.

The resulting red flag meant just six of the scheduled 10 minutes remained when the GT3 Am session resumed.

Rick Parfitt Jnr again showed his and Team Parker Racing’s pace by topping the Am session for the second time in as many rounds after lapping 0.140s faster than Andrew Howard, who made a welcome return to form.

While the Bentley remained untroubled up front, the former two-time champion improved twice to see off the challenge posed by Jetstream Motorsport’s Spa winner Graham Davidson and Haigh, who finished 0.2s shy of the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin.

Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghinis circulated within 0.017s of each other to claim fifth and sixth, Jon Minshaw ultimately beating Sam De Haan, while Ian Loggie and Derek Johnston completed the top-eight.

However, that all changed in the Pro segment thanks to Adam whose second fastest time helped Optimum’s V12 Vantage leap from fourth to first.

“We’re in prime position. After qualifying on pole, which is good for the team, our job now is to try and deliver a good result tomorrow,” said Jonny Adam. “The championship can swing either way, so it’s all about execution and trying to get those points in so we can head to Donington with a realistic shot at the championship. The car has always been quite balanced, and we’re okay on traction, but it is going to be a tough stint for the Ams in this heat.”

Darren Turner’s efforts saw Beechdean retain second ahead of Phil Keen who gained two places aboard the championship-leading Barwell Lamborghini he shares with Minshaw.

That came at the expense of Jetstream’s Davidson and Maxime Martin who start fourth, while the second Barwell Lamborghini driven by Jonny Cocker and De Haan, and the Team Parker Bentley of Callum Macleod and Loggie, completed the top-six.

Yelmer Buurman’s fastest overall time helped ERC Sport’s Mercedes-AMG move up to seventh ahead of Parfitt and Ryan Ratcliffe’s Bentley.

There was a further disappointment for TF Sport whose second Aston Martin failed to set a representative Q2 time after losing a wheel early in the session.

GT3 Qualifying Results

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