Team Parker Racing dominated the GT3 qualifying session to take pole position whilst Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse claimed the GT4 pole position around the very busy Silverstone GP circuit.  The Bentley Contintental GT3 driven by Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr claimed its second pole position of the season so far. In GT4 Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell dominated the session to claim the GT4 pole position, their first of the season this far after both drivers moved from single seaters to British GT.

The GT3 cars were the first to go out and qualify, the amateur drivers were sent out first to set their competitive lap times, they only get two laps to set a fast timed lap which is combined with the pros times to determine the grid. In the beginning of the session it was Optimum Motorsport’s Will Moore in the Audi R8 LMS who set the quick time of 2:03.096, this was then the marker that the rest of the field would aim to beat.

The first driver to respond to Moore’ time was a fired up Rick Parfitt Jnr, his first lap time was 2:02.886 which boosted the Bentley Continental up into first.  Barwell Motorsport’s Liam Griffin knocked eight hundredths off of Parfitt’s time to take first away from the Team Parker driver. Parfitt soon responded and took half a tenth off of Griffin’s time to take pole position, nobody was able to top the time that claimed Team Parker Racing’s second pole position of the year. Further back in fourth and fifth were the two TF Sport Aston Martin’s with Mark Farmer beating the sister car with Derek Johnston at the wheel.

During the Pro session the times were combined with the Am drivers’ times to determine the grid for the three-hour race. The first to set a blinding lap time was Alexander Sims who set a 2:00.101 which combined with teammate Liam Griffin made a time of 4:02.907.  For quite some time it seemed to be that nobody was able to take pole position away from them. Ross Gunn was only able to jump up into third in his Beachdean Aston Martin. Meanwhile Seb Morris was looking to be stuck 0.1 second behind with the combined time of himself and Parfitt being 4:03.020. Morris was determined to get pole. At the end of the ten-minute pro driver session he banged in a 2:00.82 lap time to take pole position with just over a tenth of a second lead.

TF Sport’s Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston finished the qualifying session in third place aboard their Aston Martin with the Beachdean Aston Martin of Ross Gunn and Andrew Howard finishing behind in fourth. Fifth on the timing screens was Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell aboard their Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren with Team Parker Racing’s Callum MacLeod and Ian Loggie in sixth.

With the GT3 grid being sorted the attention was soon turned to the GT4 qualifying sessions. During the qualifying session there were thirty-three cars on the Silverstone GP circuit fighting for pole position. In the beginning of the session it was returning reigning GT4 team’s champions Academy Motorsport at the top of the times as Dennis Strandberg banged in a lap time of 2:13.782. When Matt Nicoll-Jones put in his strong lap time the two combined sees the #62 Aston Martin starting fourth in the GT4 class, the second highest placed Aston Martin.

Sandy Mitchell set a lap time of 2:12.995 which obliterated the fastest lap time at the time during the Am session of the qualifying. Jack Bartholomew in the #407 Beachdean Aston Martin set a lap time of 2:13.484 which saw him finish the Am part of the qualifying session in second.

During the pro session of the qualifying Jordan Albert aboard the #407 set a lap time to see the combined time of himself and Jack Bartholomew at 4:26.718. it was Ciaran Haggerty who went out and set a blinding lap time which combined to make his and Sandy Mitchell’s lap time 4:25.628, this time put the McLaren onto pole position in the GT4 class.

With having so many of the GT4 cars on the grid during the three hour race the pole position was vital so that they can get the best start in their class. Next to the McLaren on the grid is the Beachdean AMR run Aston Martin of Jordan Albert and Jack Bartholomew. Third place on the grid will be the Century Motorsport run Ginetta of Anna Walewska and Nathan Freke with Academy Aston Martin of Dennis Strandberg and Matt Nicoll-Jones alongside. Starting the race in fifth is Joey Foster and Alex Reed’s Lanan Racing Ginetta. Fifth on the grid will be Matthew Graham and Jack Mitchell aboard the Generation AMR Macmillan Racing Aston Martin with Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson starting alongside in sixth.

For this weekend the organisers agreed to let the GT4 European Series join the grid as visitors. The pole position for that class went to the #109 Racing Team Holland by Ekris Motorsport in a BMW M4 GT4 with Bernhard Van Oranje and Ricardo Van Der Ende at the wheel. Their combined time was 4:28.651 which will see them start from eighth on the grid, mixed in with the British GT GT4 class. Second place in the European GT4 Series went the way of the #102 Chevrolet Camaro of V8 Racing International with Luc Braams and Duncan Huisman at the wheel with the #190 Maserati Trofeo MC GT4 of Villorba Corse taking third place.

With the mix of all the GT3, GT4 and European GT4s on the grid tomorrows race will be a very exciting and unpredictable race.

©Fay Tilley 11th June 2016.