RAM Racing and Newbridge Motorsport took pole position in GT3 and GT4 as the Intelligent Money British GT Championship paid its first visit to Donington Park this season.
Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie took good results in Leicestershire during the Championship’s three races here in 2020, also running well in both Free Practice sessions on Saturday morning.
The Pro-Am pair have put themselves in the best possible position for a repeat performance with a strong joint effort on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Silverstone 500 winner Matt Topham and Darren Burke, who replaces Darren Turner this weekend.
A reminder that British GT qualifying is a combined affair, with Am drivers and nominated Silvers taking Q1, and Pro drivers alongside the remaining Silver-graded drivers looking to improve on their Am’s pace.
The Am drivers set off in Q1, with Stewart Proctor reaching the end of the pitlane first in the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3, followed by the FP1-topping Enduro Motorsport McLaren of Morgan Tillbrook.
Richard Neary didn’t take part in the Team Abba Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, following damage caused by an exploding brake disk in FP2.
That freak incident has made their weekend much more difficult, as he and Sam Neary will start tenth on Sunday.
Adam Balon, Nick Jones, Ian Loggie, Kelvin Fletcher, Michael Igoe, Andrew Howard and Leo Machitski were involved in the first ten-minute session of the afternoon, with Fletcher starting a timed lap first, to the tune of 1:29.193.
That put him almost a second ahead of Tillbrook and Proctor, before Michael Igoe set a 1:28.899.
Adam Balon then topped that by a tenth, setting a 1:28.785, with Andrew Howard just behind.
Ian Loggie went quickest at the halfway point, before Kelvin Fletcher took the Paddock Motorsport Bentley Continental GT3 top again with a 1:28.464, four tenths ahead of Igoe.
The times stabilised until the last minute, with Adam Balon the last to cross the line before the checkered flag fell.
Michael Igoe jumped Kelvin Fletcher to go seven hundredths behind Loggie, while Tillbrook moved ahead of Andrew Howard and Proctor overtook Machitski, with the nine cars separated by just over eight tenths.
Q2 started with Yelmer Buurman leading Phil Keen by seven hundredths, himself two tenths ahead of Martin Plowman.
Sandy Mitchell put himself fourth with his opening gambit, ahead of Marcus Clutton, Jonny Adam and Scott Malvern.
Phil Keen went top with a 1:27.265, putting the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo into provisional second place on combined times.
Scott Malvern had his time at the sharp end, before being shuffled down by the former Barwell Motorsport team-mates Mitchell and Keen.
Not to be denied, though, the Team Parker Racing man went quickest in the session, and quickest on combined times with a 1:28.799.
Reigning champion Sandy Mitchell and record race-winner Keen traded the top spot in the dying minutes, as Mitchell’s Barwell team-mate Dennis Lind loitered just over a second behind.
Buurman didn’t set a time until late in the session after having lap times deleted for track limits infringements at the Old Hairpin. When he finally kept the Mercedes the right side of the paint, he put the RAM Racing Mercedes five hundredths ahead of Mitchell on combined times.
Scott Malvern set the fastest lap of the session with a 1:26.670, not very far off the British GT lap record, but could only put the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fourth on combined times.
Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie will start from pole, ahead of Keen/Igoe in the WPI Lamborghini and Mitchell/Balon in its Barwell cousin.
Q1 was the reserve of the Am and Silverdrivers, with Alain Valente, Katie Milner, Matt Topham, Matt Cowley, Will Burns, Ashley Marshall, John Ferguson, James Kell, Richard Williams, Chris Salkeld, Mark Sansom, Nick Halstead and Dave Whitmore.
Cowley put the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang top of the times late in Q1, almost two tenths ahead of Valente in the Jenson Team Rocket RJN McLaren 570S GT4.
Chris Salkeld jumped Mark Sansom to go tenth in the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 Evo, while Richard Williams put the Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 second.
Ashley Marshall jumped Will Burns to go seventh as the flag fell to signal the end of Q1.
Cowley finished Q1 on top, ahead of Williams and Valente. There were three manufacturers in the top three, spread across Ford, Audi and McLaren.
Q2 brought quicker times as the Silver drivers jumped in, though there were concerns the afternoon heat at Donington might make conditions less than optimal for the cars.
Darren Burke led Scott McKenna in the second session, before Harry Hayek moved past McKenna in the final two minutes.
Besides that change, things stayed relatively stable as a few cars pitted before the end of the session.
As Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke chased an improvement, though, he spun exiting the Melbourne Loop and kissed the barrier on the inside, but didn’t seem to sustain any damage to the #9 Century Motorsport BMW.
Donington Park Qualifying Results:
|1||6||Buurman/Loggie||RAM Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo||2:55.301|
|2||18||Keen/Igoe||WPI Motorsport||Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo||+0.051|
|3||1||Mitchell/Balon||Barwell Motorsport||Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo||+0.103|
|4||66||Malvern/Jones||Team Parker Racing||Porsche 911 GT3 RSR||+0.318|
|5||77||Clutton/Tillbrook||Enduro Motorsport||McLaren 720S GT3||+0.368|
|6||5||S/L Proctor||Balfe Motorsport||McLaren 720S GT3||+0.423|
|7||11||Plowman/Fletcher||Paddock Motorsport||Bentley Continental GT3||+0.534|
|8||7||Adam/Howard||Beechdean AMR||Aston Martin Vantage GT3||+0.689|
|9||63||Lind/Machitski||Barwell Motorsport||Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo||+0.871|
|10||8||S/R Neary||Team Abba Racing||Mercedes-AMG GT3||No time set|
|11||27||Burke/Topham||Newbridge Motorsport||Aston Martin Vantage GT4||3:11.437|
|12||4||Hayek/Milner||Jenson Team Rocket RJN||McLaren 570S GT4||+0.055|
|13||15||McKenna/Ferguson||TOYOTA GAZOO Racing UK||Toyota GR Supra GT4||+0.071|
|14||56||Robertson/Sansom||Assetto Motorsport||Ginetta G56 GT4||+0.127|
|15||42||Fielding/Williams||Steller Motorsport||Audi R8 LMS GT4||+0.217|
|16||61||Moore/Cowley||Academy Motorsport||Ford Mustang GT4||+0.298|
|17||4||Benyahia/Valente||Jenson Team Rocket RJN||McLaren 570S GT4||+0.408|
|18||2||Collard/Kell||Jenson Team Rocket RJN||McLaren 570S GT4||+0.459|
|19||57||Burton/Burns||Century Motorsport||BMW M4 GT4 Evo||+0.501|
|20||90||Brown/Marshall||Balfe Motorsport||McLaren 570S GT4||+0.706|
|21||9||Gordon-Colebrooke/Salkeld||Century Motorsport||BMW M4 GT4 Evo||+0.777|
|22||25||Giddings/Whitmore||Ciceley Motorsport by Car Gods||Mercedes-AMG GT4||+1.885|
|23||40||Stanley/Halstead||Fox Motorsport||McLaren 570S GT4||+1.886|