Meadows tops Carrera Cup GB qualifying at Brands Hatch

Michael Meadows underlined his status as early season pacesetter in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Brands Hatch today (Saturday 31 March) by taking two pole positions for the opening two rounds of the 2012 championship.While Richard Plant and Carrera Cup Scholarship driver Daniel Lloyd led the chase of Meadows at the head of the Pro category, Ahmad Al Harthy and Tania Mann were the stars of Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 in a superbly competitive field. Less than a second covered the first 14 drivers and the entire 21-car field was covered by less than two seconds on the grid for the opening race of 2012.“That’s been quite a good day so far,” said Meadows (Redline Racing). “We got a good balance yesterday and I saw a 45.9s lap on the dash.” However, on official times his best lap was 46.006s as he clinched pole for round one and during a series of very quick laps, he set a second best of 46.092s to secure pole for round two as well. “That’s the perfect start to the season,” he said after scoring the first two championship points of 2012.Plant (Team Parker Racing) was second and then third on the two grids to score his best qualifying result so far and get his season off to an excellent start. “I went into qualifying more relaxed and it was a great session,” said Plant. Meanwhile, Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) took third and then second places to make the most impressive start to a season so far for a Scholarship driver. “Absolutely mega,” said an elated Lloyd. “There was a little bit more in me,” he added.Completing the top six overall for both races were Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) with two fourth places, Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) in fifth and sixth and Sam Tordoff (Team Parker Racing) with sixth and fifth. For round one, the top eight drivers on the grid were split by less than a third of a second.It was almost as close at the head of Pro-Am1 with 15-hundredths of a second separating Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air), Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) and Michael Leonard (Naas Court Hotel with Team Parker). The grid for round two was the same, with an almost identical gap in the times. “That was a very good session,” said Al Harthy. “I’m pleased with how the car feels.” Pierce had a better time disallowed for running four wheels over the white line at the edge of the circuit, but Pierce and Leonard were in very good shape and look set to take the Pro-Am1 battle to Al Harthy.It was a superb session for Tania Mann (SIBSport) who claimed both Pro-Am2 poles ahead of her Carrera Cup debut. She upped her pace further from testing and headed Pro-Am2 as a third of a second covered the four cars in the category. “That’s fantastic,” said Mann. “I was just building up steadily again and following our plan.” Series newcomer Jean Glorieux (Speedlover) and Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) were close behind.Round One grid:Pro category: 1 Michael Meadows (48.006s); 2 Richard Plant (46.127s); 3 Daniel Lloyd (46.179s)Pro-Am1 category: 1 Ahmad Al Harthy (46.585s); 2 Derek Pierce (46.688s); 3 Michael Leonard (46.730s)Pro-Am2 category: 1 Tania Mann (47.617s); 2 Jean Gloriuex (47.868s); 3 Tautvydas Barstys (47.913s).Round Two grid:Pro category: 1 Michael Meadows (48.092s); 2 Daniel Lloyd (46.258s); 3 Richard Plant (46.293s)Pro-Am1 category: 1 Ahmad Al Harthy (46.630s); 2 Derek Pierce (46.741s); 3 Michael Leonard (46.743s)Pro-Am2 category: 1 Tania Mann (47.701s); 2 Jean Gloriuex (47.936s); 3 Tautvydas Barstys (47.941s).