Shaun Balfe and Marvin Kerchhoefer will start on the pole for rounds 5 and 6 of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship respectively. The Barwell Motorsport racer set the second fastest time in Qualifying 1 but benefits from a 5-place grid penalty for championship leader James Cottingham.
Stuart Middleton for Raceway Motorsport put the #56 Ginetta G56 GT4 on the pole in GT4 for race 1. Charles Clark did the job in Q4 to claim the top spot for the final sprint race of the season.
Cottingham On the Pace, But Sent To the Naughty Step in Qualifying.
Free Practice 2 did as much to set the starting position for James Cottingham and Jonny Adam as Qualifying. The #4 Mercedes-AMG was quicker than all comers by almost half a second in the first qualifying session but incident responsibility for a bump with a GT4 car in practice meant that a penalty was headed Cottingham’s way.
The Behaviour Warning Points system, which denied the #88 McLaren at Donington Park last time out, means that when a driver has totted up three points, they get a grid penalty. The incident in practice handed the 2 Seas Motorsport driver his third point and a potential five-place penalty.
Cottingham and the team appealed the penalty, which was denied, and the order was rejigged. Cottingham starts on the outside of row three.
0.481 seconds behind the Mercedes was Shaun Balfe’s Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini which inherits the inside of the front row. The now customary slugfest for position left Mark Radcliffe’s Optimum McLaren in second ahead of the Silverstone 500-winning Century BMW of Darren Leung.
GT3 debutant Matt Topham for Enduro Motorsport was one of the most impressive drivers of the session. He starts on the outside of row 2 with Kevin Tse in fifth place for Sky.
Pro Session Gives Kerchhoefer Top Spot
The battle of the pro drivers was its usual entertaining self. It was also a lot closer with 0.046 seconds splitting the McLaren 720S GT3 EVO of Marvin Kerchhoefer and the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Ross Gunn.
With the weather on side, it seemed almost inevitable that the lap record would fall and fall it did. Kerchhoefer’s first pole in the championship set a new record of 1:44.793. Kerchhoefer went for gold straight away, using the best of new tyres in an all-or-nothing roll of the dice.
All the other pro drivers built to a crescendo and fell short of the top spot.
GT4 – Who Could Do the Optimum Lap
In GT4 qualifying it was a battle to better the Optimum McLaren. The #90 Artura GT4 of Jack Brown and Charles Clark was in the runnings in both sessions.
As has become the pattern for GT4 this year the early part of Q3 was a battle to find out which McLaren Artura would set the pace. Early on it looked like the Enduro Motorsport machine of Harry George would do the job, then Aston Millar for DTO Motorsport put the #36 ahead.
The interloper was the Team Parker Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. The #18 car is quick when it works but again, the team have been chasing problems and free practice hadn’t been kind. The three cars, Enduro, DTO and TPR traded fast times until Stuart Middleton wound up the Ginetta G56 GT4 he shares with Freddie Tomlinson.
The Raceway Motorsport machine broke the battle with a time over half a second clear. The trio had been trading in hundredths of a second.
Jack Brown then arrived in the championship-leading McLaren, getting second with a time 0.480 seconds off the Ginetta’s pace.
A brief duel between Aston Millar’s McLaren and Josh Miller’s R Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 decided 3rd in the DTO car’s favour.
Q4 – Clark Secures Pole for Snetterton’s Second Race
It looked to be a day of good news for Yorkshire’s car maker. Mike Simpson headed the initial running, laying down a scorching lap to which only Charles Clark could reply.
The Optimum machine’s first attempt gave the #90 a margin of 0.4 seconds. Simpson’s counter improved the Ginetta’s time by 0.7 seconds and gave him a cushion of 0.3. Clark’s final reply cut another 0.195 seconds from the pole time and secured the Optimum crew a front-row start.
Behind the battle was again between R Racing and DTO, the Aston Martin coming out on top thanks to Seb Hopkins. Joe Wheeler put the second Toro Verde Ginetta into fifth with Darren Burke’s Enduro machine rounding out the top six.