Steller beats Supra to GT4 top spot
ABBOTT AND KODRIC PACE BOTH GT3 SESSIONS
CONSISTENCY KEY TO WILLIAMS AND FIELDING’S GT4 SUCCESS
CLASS POLES FOR BALFE MOTORSPORT AND TOYOTA GAZOO RACING UK
2 Seas Motorsport have marked their Intelligent Money British GT Championship return with an emphatic pole position ahead of tomorrow’s Silverstone 500 after Hunter Abbott and Martin Kodric both paced their individual qualifying sessions.
Reigning champion Sandy Mitchell and Barwell Motorsport co-driver Adam Balon join the Mercedes-AMG on the front row after TF Sport’s Giacomo Petrobelli and Charlie Eastwood were docked two places for an on-track infringement. Just 0.010s had separated the crews in qualifying.
RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman complete GT3’s revised top-three.
Further back, Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding both finished second in their sessions to claim a combined GT4 pole position aboard Steller Motorsport’s Audi. They ultimately prevailed by 0.760s over Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s John Ferguson and Scott McKenna who vaulted from fourth to second thanks to the latter’s fastest time of all.
Century’s championship leaders, Will Burns and Gus Burton, had to settle for third after topping Q1.
GT3: 2 SEAS END SATURDAY ON TOP
2 Seas served notice of their intent by topping morning practice and repeated that form throughout the afternoon’s two 10-minute qualifying sessions.
TF Sport’s Giacomo Petrobelli and Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe traded fastest times initially but were unable to respond to either of Hunter Abbott’s flying laps, the best of which – 1m59.704s – handed 2 Seas a 0.565s headstart in Q2.
That same margin covered second to eighth in the opening session. RAM Racing’s James Cottingham and Ian Loggie underlined the Mercedes-AMG’s potential by slotting into fourth and fifth behind Iribe and Petrobelli, and ahead of Adam Balon (Barwell Motorsport), Morgan Tillbrook (Enduro Motorsport) and Richard Neary (Team Abba Racing).
Big swings have been known to occur between the two qualifying sessions but any suggestion that might be the case here was swiftly silenced by Martin Kodric who unleashed two scintillating laps in quick succession to seal Q2 top spot by 0.7s.
Before that the top of the timesheets were a whirr of fastest times as the likes of Marco Sorensen, Sandy Mitchell and Charlie Eastwood all lowered Q2’s benchmark.
Mitchell ultimately emerged second quickest of all to move Barwell from sixth to third in the combined times, which later became second when Petrobelli incurred a two-place grid penalty for crossing the pit exit blend line.
The Italian and Eastwood thus drop to fourth behind Ian Loggie and Yelmer Buurman who ended Q3 third quickest of all.
Inception’s McLaren dropped to fifth in the final reckoning but was just 0.025s shy of starting of the front row, while Marcus Clutton and Enduro Motorsport impressed again en route to fourth in Q2 and sixth overall.
Beechdean AMR’s Vantage starts seventh in the hands of Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam after setting an identical combined time to Brands Hatch sparring partners Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind (Barwell). The Aston starts one place ahead by dint of establishing its cumulative lap time first.
Behind, Proctors Stewart and Lewis line up first in Silver-Am after beating fellow father/son duo Richard and Sam Neary to ninth overall.
Further back, a troubled day for WPI’s championship leaders Michael Igoe and Phil Keen continued after the pair qualified their Lamborghini, which is suffering from a mechanical issue, 16th.
GT4: WILLIAMS AND FIELDING SCORE STELLER POLE
They were twice denied top spot during the earlier practice sessions but Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding delivered when it mattered most to seal pole position for Steller Motorsport and Audi at Silverstone.
In truth, neither driver set the overall fastest time in their session. But it was consistency rather than outright speed that ultimately prevailed in a three-way fight for class pole.
Will Burns set the early Q1 pace aboard Century Motorsport’s BMW he shares with Gus Burton. The Brands Hatch winners didn’t enjoy the summit for long though, as Williams then edged ahead by just 0.003s on his second run, before Burns re-established himself with one final effort. His lap left things finely poised, with just 0.090s separating the leaders at the break.
But there was one final key improvement to be made in the closing moments, and it came from leading amateur John Ferguson who managed to shave a few extra tenths off his best in the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra. That was enough to end the first element of qualifying in fourth and crucially less than a second shy of pole.
That gave the car a chance to enter the fight at the front and, with Scott McKenna already showing his potential by topping FP2 earlier in the day, the Toyota stood a chance of springing a surprise.
As Burns handed the BMW across to Burton, Williams relayed with Fielding and McKenna took over the Toyota, all three drivers were on a mission from the very first lap, but none more so than Fielding.
While Burton led the way initially to hold provisional pole, a superb effort from Fielding blew the contest out of the water as he pulled the best part of a second on the BMW to establish an insurmountable gap. But while Fielding and Williams were now safe and dry, McKenna was making moves. He went even quicker than Fielding to set the fastest time of anyone and elevate the Toyota to a surprise second, ahead of Burns/Burton.
Darren Turner and Matt Topham will make their British GT race debut together starting a strong fourth in the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin, with Mark Sansom and Charlie Robertson’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta lining up fifth.
Chris Salkeld and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke will go from sixth in the #9 Century BMW, ahead of Fox Motorsport’s McLaren shared by Nick Halstead and Jamie Stanley, which battled back from a suspension issue earlier in the day.
Team Rocket RJN’s Michael Benyahia and Alain Valente put their Brands Hatch disappointment behind them to qualify eighth.
Elsewhere, Academy’s Mustang moves to the back of the grid after failing to complete the mandatory two flying laps in Q1.