Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr have taken their fourth pole position for Team Parker Racing during the British GT season so far. The qualifying sessions were incredibly tight but the duo managed to snatch pole position at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Bentley looked very unlikely to take pole position around the Belgian circuit following the first twelve-minute Am qualifying session but the team benefited from a quick rain shower midway through the Pro session which allowed Morris to go quicker and edge out Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse’s Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell. McCaig’s fastest Am lap time helped the McLaren to start the Pro session with a 0.761 second advantage over BTCC regular Hunter Abbott aboard the Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan. Abdulaziz Al Faisal’s Mercedes AMG GT3 run by Black Falcon was down in third place with a tenth between himself and second place. This meant that there had to a be a massively quicker lap time had to occur for the McLaren to be knocked off of pole position. Seb Morris managed to set the fastest Pro time in his Team Parker Bentley Continental. His lap time of 2:18.782 was nearly a second quicker than the pack chasing him, he was also 1.5 seconds faster than Rob Bell’s best lap time in the McLaren 650S which helped to jump the Bentley up onto pole position for the fourth time this season.
Just after Morris had passed sector two for the second time the rain struck, Bell had no other option than to take a careful approach to the wet section of the circuit, it ultimately gave Morris the crucial extra time which he needed to secure the pole position. After the lap times weer combined it was TF Sport’s Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes in third, just four tenths behind second. Barnes’ consistent approach to the session helped the duo to seal a career best qualifying result together in British GT. It is also the highest Barnes has started in a race since winning the title back in 2008.
Black Falcon’s guesting Mercedes AMG GT3 in the hands of Oliver Morley and Dani Juncadella will start the race from fourth after putting in a consistent performance. After Alexander Sims set the second fastest Pro time it helped the #6 Huracan he shares with Liam Griffin up into fifth. Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn line up in sixth place on the grid in the 2015 Spa race winning Aston Martin. Jonny Adam, now with TF Sport for 2016, helped rebuild the Aston Martin V12 Vantage that had sustained quite heavy front end damage in free practice one, he then went on to set the third fastest pro time. When times were combined he and co-driver Derek Johnston’s times see the duo start in seventh on the grid. Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne completed the top eight during the GT3 qualifying session in their AmDTuning.com run BMW Z4. Ninth place went to the #63 Grasser Racing Team whose Lamborghini ended the Am session in Hunter Abbott’s hands. However, co-driver Rolf Ineichen spun the Huracan into the gravel during the Pro session which means they have to now start ninth. Rounding out the top ten was Optimum Motorsport’s Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore.
Eleventh place went to Black Falcon with Al Faisal and Toril at the wheel with Motorbase’s Ross Wylie and Phil Dryburgh finishing the session in twelfth. Thirteenth was the second Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini with McKansby and Berretta at the wheel, fourteenth went to Tolman Motorsport’s Ian Stinton and Mike Simpson. Fifteenth on the grid will be Neary and Short in their Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing. Rounding out the GT3 competitors is Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen.
©Fay Tilley 9th July 2016.