British GT

Steller and Newbridge take top spots in Qualifying

3 Mins read
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography/BritishGT.com

The first round of the 2022 Intelligent Money British GT Championship has started as it means to go on, with thrilling racing at every turn and the qualifying sessions were no exception! The first of the GT4 sessions saw both Ams and Silvers taking to the track, setting the grid for the first race in the Bank Holiday Weekend bonanza.

Steller Motorsport took pole in the first qualifying session, with Richard Williams on driving duties for the #42 Audi R8 LMS GT4 very nearly setting a new lap record, but not quite. That honour instead went to Darren Turner of Newbridge Motorsport, who in the second GT4 qualifying session pipped Sennan Fielding to the pole with Steller Motorsport having to settle for second place on the grid.

GT4 Am/Silver 1:

Whilst the headline news is the Audi taking the double pole for Race One following Shaun Balfe‘s exceptional drive in the GT3 Audi R8 LMS EVO II GT3 Am qualifying session, it wasn’t quite so assured for Richard Williams, as initially there was a three way battle for pole and he was not a contender.

Topping the table from the start of the session was Jack Brown in the Century Motorsport #90 BMW M4 GT4 who was in close competition with both Tom Edgar in the #48 Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Toyota GR Supra GT4 and Benji Hetherington; team owner/driver of the #51 Valluga Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS – one of several teams making their British GT debut this year.

Once Williams had warmed up however he put in a flying lap that was a clear half second quicker than his competitors, coming in at 1:42.395 – a time he would then better by another 0.003s, but no-one was matching him. Hetherington did his best to catch the Steller Audi, however his fastest time, gaining him the other spot on the front row was 0.653s slower than the pole sitter.

The second Porsche 718 Cayman on the grid – this one being the #65 belonging to Team Parker Racing and driven by Jamie Orton missed out on the front row of the grid by a hugely frustrating 0.001s – setting a best lap time of 1:43.049 with the #48 Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra of Edgar completing the second row.

Matt Topham in the Newbridge Motorsport #27 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 was 5th in the standings and highest qualifying Pro/Am entry, finishing ahead of early session leader Jack Brown, who could only manage P6 in the end.

GT4: Pro/Silver II

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography/BritishGT.com

The lap record that was so close to falling in the first of the two GT4 qualifying sessions had little chance in this session. It was beaten not once, but twice. The first time was by Will Burns in the Century Motorsport #90 and returning overall champion who didn’t just beat the lap record but obliterated it by seven tenths of a second on his first flying lap of the session. It was a time that Burns wasn’t able to better, and called his session a day after four laps, but Darren Turner was to go even better, taking both overall and Pro/Am poles with his time of 1:41.957.

The fight for the front row of the grid wasn’t over though, as with Burns having come in early, Fielding was still firmly in the fight, and nosed the Audi onto the front row of the grid with his final lap, in a thrilling end to qualifying, and pushing the Century BMW of Burns onto the second row.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra was consistent again throughout this session, with Jack Mitchell taking fourth place on the grid, with the Team Parker Racing #65 Porsche Cayman of Seb Hopkins taking P5. Sixth was Josh Miller in the #23 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 of R Racing – another new team to join the series this year.

The first round of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship continues at Oulton Park on Easter Monday, with warm up followed by two one hour sprint races.

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I'm a writer, all round creative, and podcast host, who dabbles in some photography too! A budding sportscar enthusiast, specialising in British GT, as the host of The British GT Fans Show - available now via recommended listening!
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