Barwell Bounce Back in Free Practice 2

by Nick Smith

Barwell Motorsport have taken the top spot in the second free practice session ahead of the 2019 British GT Championship round 6 at Donington Park. Normality was restored in the championship leading car as Phil Keen set the top time in the dying laps of the session rather than Adam Balon who set the car’s best time in the earlier action.

In GT4 it was more of the same with Scott Maxwell taking the top spot for Multimatic Motorsports. The Ford Mustang GT4 he shares with Seb Priaulx held a slimmer margin at the end of the hour long practice. The sister car however had the session to forget.

GT3: Barwell Break-up Aston Attack at the Top.

Lap 27 of 30 was the key for Phil Keen, who set a 1:27.732, bettering the circuit lap record by a whopping 0.464 seconds. The record still stands at 1:28.196 though as they can only be officially broken in race sessions. That the record will fall though is almost certain. Five cars came under the lap record time in the second practice session and the weather forecast for the race is nearly perfect for breaking records.

With the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO of Keen and Balon on top, it was Nicki Thiim who got closest to beating them. More properly though it was Thiim who set the target, 23 laps in to the #2 TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3’s session, which Keen then surpassed.

Until the Lamborghini struck hard though it was almost exclusively an Aston Martin love-in. Thiim had the top spot ahead of the #47 car Graham Davidson shares with Jonny Adam who set the time. For a while, Oliver Wilkinson held third, having originally hit second place only to be beaten by the AMR Pro in the #47. The Optimum Motorsport machine would still finish in 5th place, knocked back on the penultimate lap of the session by Tom Onslow-Cole for Team ABBA, the sole German machine in the top 5.

A mid session flyer from Jonny Cocker was enough to assure Barwell of sixth in the #69 shared with Sam de Haan while Ross Gunn‘s best in the #99 Beechdean AMR machine took 7th.

BMW finally came to the party thanks to the #3 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. In the first session the sister car managed a best for the brand of 12th but it was Domnic Paul‘s team mate Ben Green who dragged the big coupe into the top ten, 0.872 off the pace. The team mate car however had a session to forget, spending the entire hour in the garage receiving a new gearbox.

The #55 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO of JMH Automotive also sat out the session in the paddock, though we don’t yet have a reason for the absence.

GT4: Multimatic Reprise Leading Role

Credit: Craig Robertson

The GT4 class was yet again schooled in the art of driving fast by the pairing of Maxwell and Priaulx. The Multimatic Motorsport duo found 0.344 seconds over their FP1 time and secured the top spot by a small but increased margin. ,

The differences thereafter though are almost total. Session 1 runners up, the #19 Mustang of Sir Chris Hoy and Billy Johnson spent almost the entire session in the garage with a gear selection issue. The car manged five tours of the 2.48 mile circuit, none of them a flying lap. It left the field a bit more open behind and it was Century Motorsport who put in the best bid.

Angus Fender, sharing with Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke, set the BMW M4 GT4’s fastest lap, eeking out a 0.037 second advantage over the sister car. Jacob Mathiassen set the third place time in the #42 machine he shares with Mark Kimber. Invictus Games Racing were set to place high until the later session improvements head bullied them down to fifth in class.

The Jag did split up a solid block of Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4s though, five of the seven entered make up places 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Once again, TF Sport claimed the honors here, but only in the best of the Astons battle, thanks to Tom Canning in the #97.

At the back of the field of cars which actually set a lap comes the two Track Focused KTM X-Bow GT4s. The full season car of Mike McCollum and Sean Cooper were surpassed by their single round stablemates. Alexander McEwen and Ross McEwen sneaked ahead with a time 0.327 seconds ahead but collectively the cars manged only 36 laps and placed 37th and 38th.

Qualifying gets underway this afternoon at 15:35 and will be covered live on TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk. You can also view live pictures on the British GT Championship Facebook page.

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