TF Sport’s Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston secured the overall pole position for the second round of the British GT championship taking place at Rockingham Motor Speedway. However, the duo will have to serve a twenty second pit stop success penalty after claiming victory at Brands Hatch two weeks ago.
The TF Sport pairing topped the times during free practice two and were always likely to be in the close fight for the GT3 pole position at the Northamptonshire circuit. Johnston showed his pace during the first ten minutes of the Am session leading by 0.140 seconds ahead of Alasdair McCaig in the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse run Mclaren.
Barwell Motorsport’s Liam Griffin was half of a second back from them lying in third in the Irish TV backed Lamborghini Huracan. The fight for pole soon boiled down to being between TF Sport’s Jonny Adam and Barwell Motorsport’s second car in the hands of Rob Bell, both fresh from winning races prior to this round.
With Rockingham having a fairly harsh track surface it almost made certain that the first flying lap each driver took would likely be their fastest during the session. Adam initially went quickest to extend TF Sport’s advantage during the beginning of the session. He was then knocked back by Bell who was one of only two drivers to have dipped into the 1:16 lap times during the session. However, when it came down to the combined classification to set grid positions Bell was 0.038 seconds short from claiming pole position.
Beachdean AMR’s Andrew Howard had initially set the fifth fastest lap time in the Am class qualifying session but will start the race in third due to teammate Ross Gunn’s fastest lap time bumping them up to third on the grid after the combined classification. Gunn was lapping just two tenths slower than the pace set by Barwell’s Phil Keen. Keen’s fastest lap time of 1:15.871 was 2.5 seconds faster than the last time the British GT qualified on the Rockingham International Super Sportcar Circuit back in 2011.
Phil Keen shares his GT3 driving duties with Jon Minshaw and the duo will start from fifth on the grid, one place behind the sister car in the hands of Liam Griffin and Adam Carroll. Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne will start the race in sixth place in their AMDTuning.com run BMW Z4.
At the end of the Am qualifying session Will Moore finished in fourth aboard the Optimum Motorsport run Audi R8 LMS before handing over to co-driver Ryan Ratcliffe. The duo slipped down to seventh once the lap times were combined.
Tolman Motorsport’s Ian Stinton and Mike Stimpson were next on the grid in their Ginetta. Meanwhile, Phil Dryburgh and Ross Wylie finished ninth in their Motorbase run Aston Martin during the qualifying session. Behind them were Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing with Richard Neary and Martin Short at the wheel to round out the top ten.
TF Sport’s Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes will definitely be looking to make up ground in their Aston Martin, which suffered an engine failure without managing to complete a lap of the free practice. Team Parker Racing’s Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr will be looking to fight their way through the pack after Parfitt Jnr had an off during free practice one after hitting some oil and being sent spinning into barriers at Gracelands.
© Fay Tilley 30th April 2016.