Team ABBA Claim FP2 Honours at Snetterton

by Nick Smith
Richard Neary and Adam Christodoulou's Team ABBA Mercedes-AMG GT3

The final free practice session ahead of competitive action at Snetterton for the 2019 British GT Championship has come to an end with the Team ABBA Mercedes-AMG GT3 topping the time sheets. In a quiet session, where teams concentrated more on procedure than setup, Adam Christodoulou struck early and hard to claim the top spot on his third lap. A time which stood to the end of the session.

There was more of a battle in GT4 where the Invictus Games Racing Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4 eventually triumphed before qualifying starts this afternoon.

GT3: Christodoulou Strikes Early to Take Top Spot for Team ABBA.

A consistent session met the British GT field at Snetterton for FP2 and this was shown as again, the Pro drivers went out early. It was Team ABBA and Adam Christodoulou who excelled early with a 1:48.558, set on his third lap of the session. No-one expected that time to stand for the remaining 52 minutes of the session but it seemed that the teams were more than happy to let the times alone and focus on race preparation.

Second in the session went to Adam Balon and Phil Keen in the #72Lamborghini who rose to the top just after the halfway mark. Keen was in the car when both Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO machines set their quickest times.  Keen struck twice as originally it was the Jonny Cocker driven #69 which held second place. Thereafter, Barwell contented themselves with pit stop practice.

You have to look to fourth for the first of the British machines, the #2 Aston Martin of TF Sport driven at the close by Mark Farmer. It was factory driver Nikki Thiim who set the time, leading brand mates Beechdean AMR ahead of a late rising Bentley of Seb Morris and Rick Parfit Jr.

The surprises of the first session were absent in FP2. WPI Motorsport struggled in the session in their Lamborghini Huracan, ending the hour in 13th, last of the GT3 cars. The team had brake issues early on which forced a pad change during the session and with the garage being an awning in the paddock the team lost quite a bit of time with this unexpected repair.

Balfe Motorsport‘s McLaren 720S GT3 didn’t rise to the prominence it showed in the earlier session either. The best the team managed was fourth about ten minutes into the session but as competitors improved the car slipped down the order. Its not an issue for the team though, Shaun Balfe pointed out to the circuit commentators that after a poor start to the season in Oulton Park, they were ‘managing expectations’. He added that if both cars took silverware tomorrow, it would be a good weekend’s work.

GT4: Matthew George Masters Snetterton for Invictus Games Racing.

The Jaguar F-Type SVR GT4 of Invictus Games Racing

Credit: BritishGT.com/Jakob Ebrey Photography

There was a little more action in GT4 where the early leader in the lower class came from the Multimatic Motorsports stable. Scott Maxwell was shown in the car, though we cant be certain it was him as the timing screens struggled with driver identification throughout the hour.

For much of the first half hour it was a three way tussle for the top time between Connor O’Brien in the #24 Optimum Motorsport Aston Martin, Michael O’Brien in the #20 Balfe Motorsport McLaren and Dino Zamparelli in the GT Marques Porsche Cayman. Eventually Zamparelli would secure the top spot until an unexpected fast lap for the #66 Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG of Scott Malvern and Nick Jones which took away the top spot and relegated the Porsche to an eventual fourth in class.

A late surge for the Invictus Games Racing F-Type, care of Matthew George and a hot lap late for Graham Johnson in the Balfe car set the top three.

Again there were signs of trouble in the class with the issues starting early for Academy Motorsport. The #62 machine was much delayed at the start of the session by a mechanical issue which stranded the car at pit out until the team ran almost the length of the pit lane to push it back to the garage for attention.

There were also a few black flags in the GT4 class as first the #95 TF Sport Aston Martin of Patrick Kibble and then the #15 Multimatic Mustang and #58 HHC Motorsport McLaren were all warned about exceeding track limits.

Competitive action starts this afternoon with qualifying for the British GT Championship cars starting at 15:50. You can follow the action on TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk or watch it live on the BritishGT.com website.

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