Qualifying lap records for WPI’s Lind and Team Parker’s Malvern
TF Sport’s Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam took their second British GT pole position in as many rounds earlier today at Donington Park, while Scott Maxwell and Seb Priaulx made good on their practice pace to put Multimatic Motorsports’ #15 Ford Mustang top of the GT4 pile.
Up front, Aston Martin’s Scottish duo out-pointed fellow front row starters Michael Igoe and Dennis Lind by a combined 0.351s, despite the latter setting a new British GT3 qualifying lap record aboard WPI Motorsport’s Lamborghini. A top-three featuring as many different manufacturers was completed by Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell’s Balfe Motorsport McLaren.
GT4 once again produced two incredibly tight sessions, which initially saw the top-16 separated by just one second. A combined 0.8s ultimately covered a top-nine headed by Priaulx and Maxwell, who were joined on the front row by Tolman Motorsport’s James Dorlin and Josh Smith. Championship leaders Callum Pointon and Dean Macdonald completed the top-three for HHC.
But the star of the show was once again Team Parker’s Scott Malvern, who set two new British GT4 qualifying lap records in succession during a blistering performance in his Mercedes-AMG.
GT3: DAVIDSON LAYS THE FOUNDATIONS FOR TF SPORT’S POLE
Back-to-back poles don’t come easy in the GT3 class and would not have been possible for TF Sport without Graham Davidson’s Q1 contribution. Come the end of the 10-minute session, the #47 Aston Martin was 0.082s clear of its nearest challenger, the Optimum Motorsport Vantage driven by Ollie Wilkinson, and a little over two-tenths ahead of fellow Am, Shaun Balfe.
This gave Adam a golden opportunity to secure TF Sport’s third pole position in as many attempts. The three-time champion was equal to the task, but the end result was closer than expected thanks to a record lap by Dennis Lind in the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini.
The Danish ace circulated in 1m26.753s, breaking the GT3 qualifying benchmark set by Adam in 2017. On this occasion, the Aston Martin factory driver was two tenths shy of the best time, but it was still enough to ensure that he and Davidson start tomorrow’s two-hour race from pole.
Lind’s heroics were also sufficient to help co-driver Michael Igoe share the front row on Sunday afternoon after the latter ended the first session 0.6s behind Davidson.
The #22 Balfe Motorsport McLaren of Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell secured third on the grid, with competitive efforts from both drivers ensuring a very promising spot on the second row. They will be joined by the #72 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Adam Balon and Phil Keen after the latter went second quickest in his session, splitting Lind and Adam with a time of 1m26.963s.
But there was considerably less joy for the Silverstone 500-winning #6 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG after Callum Macleod found himself beached in the gravel at the start of Q2. Ian Loggie, who initially qualified fourth fastest, thus lines up at the back of the GT3 field.
Barwell’s Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker start one place behind team-mates Balon and Keen, while a blistering lap from Beechdean AMR’s stand-in Ross Gunn – who was faster than both of his AMR factory counterparts – helped the car he shares with Andrew Howard jump from 10th to sixth.
Optimum’s Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis and the second TF Sport entry shared by Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim made it an all Aston Martin fourth row ahead of Century’s #3 BMW and JRM’s Bentley.
Elsewhere, the GT3 field has been trimmed to 15 cars after JMH Auto withdrew its #55 Lamborghini from the event for personal reasons. A total of 40 entries are now set to take the start of tomorrow’s race.
GT4: PRIAULX AND MAXWELL BACK ON TOP
Seb Priaulx and Scott Maxwell returned to their familiar spot at the head of the GT4 order as the Multimatic duo secured a fourth pole position, but first as a pairing, in their #15 Ford Mustang.
Maxwell had already hinted at a strong showing by topping both free practice sessions, though neither driver was actually fastest overall in their respective qualifying segment.
Q1 was led by another standout from free practice, the #43 Century Motorsport BMW, which headed the times thanks to a stellar effort by Angus Fender. Maxwell was a close second, however, leaving Priaulx with a clear target to shoot for in Q2.
The youngster delivered, setting the third-best time of the session to take pole by a shade over two-tenths. It marks a return to peak form for the Multimatic pairing, whose #15 Ford took GT4 pole position for the opening three races of 2019.
Second on the grid went to the #4 Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S shared by James Dorlin and Josh Smith, who missed out on a front-row start by a little over a tenth of a second. The similar #57 machine run by HHC Motorsport took third, placing GT4 championship leaders Dean MacDonald and Callum Pointon in a strong position to defend their points advantage tomorrow.
The second row was completed by the #42 Century Motorsport entry, with Mark Kimber and Jacob Mathiassen’s BMW M4 progressing three places between Q1 and Q2.
Just like GT3, the second GT4 session delivered a record-breaking qualifying lap. In this case it was Scott Malvern, who set not one but two times that bettered the previous benchmark at Donington Park. Malvern’s #66 Team Parker Racing Mercedes-AMG will start from fifth on the GT4 grid in tomorrow’s race and as the category’s leading Pro/Am contender.
Next up was the second Pro/Am entry of Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman. Indeed, Fletcher produced a superb performance in Q1 to end the session fifth overall and as the fastest Am in his Beechdean AMR Aston Martin. Plowman was also on form and would have held on to P5 in the final order had it not been for Malvern’s record-breaking pace.
Tolman’s second McLaren finished less than a tenth further back courtesy of Lewis Proctor and Jordan Collard, while Century’s Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and Fender rounded out a top-eight covered by just 0.7s.
Tomorrow’s two-hour contest represents the mid-way point of the 2019 British GT season and is set to get underway at 13:10 BST. Watch it live across the championship’s social media platforms and website, as well as SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.