Title Fight Leaders Top Second Practice at Donington Park

by Nick Smith

Phil Keen and Adam Balon have continued their perfect preparation for the battle to claim the 2019 British GT Championship title at Donington Park this weekend. Second practice, which ran green for the entire hour, ended with the #72 Barwell Motorsport on top by an improved margin over Free Practice 1. This session saw an advantage of a whole 0.209 seconds!

In GT4 the points leaders moved to the fore with Ash Hand setting the fastest time in the TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 he shares with Tom Canning. The duo bested session 1 toppers Multimatic Motorsports to head the timesheets by 0.270 seconds at the end of the hour.

GT3: Points Leaders Pull Away from Rivals in Practice.

As with the first session of the day, Keen set the time in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO. Also mirroring the earlier running, Rob Bell for Balfe Motorsport took second place in the McLaren 720s GT3 while other title rivals dropped further behind the field. The #47 TF Sport machine of Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson languished in 11th place in the session, while the second Barwell machine who sit third in the title fight managed 13th.

Moving forward in the session was the #6 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod sit sixth in the championship and a frustrating one point out of contention for the title. They moved to within 0.013 seconds of the McLaren though in an hour where only the top car managed to better its FP1 lap time.

Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis, already long shot contenders for the title in equal fourth place with Balfe Motorsport, were not particularly impressive either, managing only 14th of fifteen GT3 runners. Only the Am/Am entry of G-Cat Racing‘s Shamus Jennings and Greg Caton placed behind the #96 Optimum Motorsport machine.

Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net

The only real excitement in the session came from Richard Neary whose Team ABBA Mercedes-AMG went for a lairy moment at Old Hairpin. Adam Christodoulou laid down an early marker in the car for Neary to target and the Am side of the pairing left nothing on the table gunning for the time. So much so that he lost the rear end of the car and bounced and spun across the grass before continuing. There was no apparent damage to the Mercedes-AMG in the incident and Neary re-found the tarmac before continuing.

GT4: TF Sport Press On to Take FP2 Honours.

In GT4 there was change, though only a small amount at the top, as the championship leading TF Sport Aston Martin jumped three places compared to FP1. Ash Hand‘s 1:35.576 put the yellow machine ahead of the Multimatic Motorsports which sits 12 points behind in the championship. Great news for both teams is that the second placed McLaren of HHC Motorsport could only manage 29th overall and 14th in class in the second practice session.

Dean MacDonald set the time in the 570s GT4 he shares with Callum Pointon, which managed 21 laps in the hour, peaking on lap 16. It would seem that the lack of pace isn’t down to a mechanical issue keeping the car in the garage and may be the best news Seb Priaulx and Scott Maxwell have had since losing the championship lead in Kent.

Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net

In fact it was a bad session to be in a McLaren, with the #5 placing 16th in the class whilst holding fourth in the title fight. Jordan Collard and Lewis Proctor‘s Tolman Motorsport run McLaren was the slowest of the 570s entries but the #4 of James Dorlin and Josh Smith managed only 12th in GT4. The #58 HHC Motorsport machine of Ruben del Sarte and BRDC British Formula 3 graduate Jordan Albert completed a solid block of four McLaren’s in thirteenth.

Only the #20 Balfe Motorsport machine managed to keep McLaren somewhere near the sharp end in the GT4 class, Michael O’Brien setting a 1:35.924 to take fourth in class behind the Steller Performance Audi R8 LMS GT4.

Plum last in the session was the #32 Track Focussed KTM X-Bow GT4 of Mike McCollum and Sean Cooper. One of whom, though it isn’t clear at this time which, was one his best behaviour after receiving a fine and 3 points on his race licence for his role in the FP1 accident which saw WPI Motorsport‘s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO in the gravel at McLeans.

Also penalised for an unseen issue in FP1, which involved both the Optimum Motorsport #35 Aston Martin and the #44 Invictus Games Racing Jaguar, was one of the two Optimum Motorsport racers, either Jack Butel or Connor O’Brien received an identical penalty.

The next session for the British GT cars is qualifying at 16:35. Live coverage of qualifying will be available on TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk. The championship’s traditional #DoningtonDecider starts at 13:15 on Sunday and will be covered live on this website with live TV available on BritishGT.com.

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