Beechdean Motorsport have successfully appealed their disqualification from yesterday’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship qualifying session. The team argued force-majure meant that they couldn’t complete two timed laps during Q1, while Andrew Howard had the wheel of the #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR GT3.

Barwell Motorsport also appealed their disqualification from the session, in which several cars transgressed championship regulation 41.4, but were unsuccessful, despite also claiming force majure.

The regulation in question states:

British GT Championship Regulation 41.4

41.4 Event format for Cases A, B and C– three hour and two hour and two one-hour races
Free Practice Sessions
There will be two free practice sessions of a maximum of 60 minutes each.
There will be no Parc Fermé after the Free Practice sessions unless requested by the Clerk of the Course.
Free Practice 2 will be considered as a pre-qualifying session for the race(s).
At the latest, all competing cars must be in position in the working area of the pit lane when the qualifying session starts or in accordance with the Clerk of the Course briefing and instructions.
There will be one qualifying practice session divided into four periods of 10 minutes (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) with a break between each session. Two of the sessions will be for GT3 only and two sessions will be for GT4 only.
Each Driver will compete in one session in order to qualify for the race. Except for cases of force majeure, recognised as such by the Clerk of the Course, all Drivers must complete at least two timed laps in the relevant session, not including in and out laps.
Each category will have two qualifying sessions one for each Driver. Each Driver will qualify in a session with the lowest graded Driver as Driver 1 taking part in Q1 or if the Driver pairing has the same categorisation in accordance with Article 13.1.1.

The stewards rejected the Barwell Motorsport appeal, commenting that other teams completed two timed laps of the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit despite changing tyres during the 10-minute qualifying 1 session. Barwell Motorsport argued that the need to change tyres meant that they couldn’t comply with the regulation.

Beechdean took an alternative argument to the stewards. Their appeal was based on the unexpected failure of a mandatory component from a third-party supplier. Translating: The Pirelli tyres the team fitted to Andrew Howard’s car in qualifying caused a vibration in the car which made it undrivable. The second set also caused a vibration. Therefore the team had to pit twice for fresh tyres in the session which meant that there was insufficient time for two flying laps in the session.

The stewards accepted that this argument constituted force majure and Beechdean have been restored to their qualifying position on the pole.

The decision returns championship hopefuls Darren Leung and Dan Harper to second place on the grid. Other penalties as a result of qualifying still stand.

Nicholas Smith

Nick Smith is a time served motorsport journalist and photographer specialising in the British GT Championship. The originator of the idea behind the British GT Fans Show, which became the British Sportscar Podcast, Nick works as the shows resident expert. Away from the track Nick earns his way as a driving instructor and instructor trainer.

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