Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr continued the strong start in the 2016 British GT Championship by claiming pole-position at the Silverstone 500, winning a close qualifying fight with the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan of Alexander Sims and Liam Griffin, for Team Parker Racing Bentley.
A stunning 2:00.082 from Morris and a 2:02.754 from Parfitt Jnr both delivered on their early runs in the 10-minute session proved enough to get the job done, as Team Parker Racing claimed its second successive pole, it’s third in five British GT races.
Morris spoke with DSC after getting out of the car, “ It was another very close one, but I’m glad we were on the right end of it. The first lap was very good, but the tyres weren’t quite there, ideally I’d have done another warm-up lap, but it came together on the second lap! Who knows what will happen tomorrow, but I think the traffic will be a major problem; I just hope it doesn’t dictate the outcome of the race.”
Parfitt Jnr added: “I think the BoP is absolutely spot-on and nobody can complain anymore. The two cars at the front, the Bentley and the Lamborghini, have completely contrasting characteristics, and they qualified with less than a tenth between them. I knew from first and second practice we had a really well balanced car, but I wasn’t too worried about qualifying as I know we have a good setup and a good race car. People are beginning to realise how good the Bentley GT3 actually is, after much of its success has been overseas.”
Sims and Griffin were second fastest for Barwell, 0.071s slower than the Bentley pair, who finished 1.5s clear of the second Parker-prepared Bentley of Ian Loggie and Calum Macleod, which qualified sixth on its debut.
Championship leaders Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam were third on the grid, half a second behind the pole-sitters, but not unhappy with their performances.
“It’s a bit tighter this week, but I’m surprised the Bentley was fastest here. Both Derek and I are happy with the car setup and if we get some rain tomorrow, that could level things further,” remarked reigning British GT champion, Adam.
Adam’s team-mate last year, Andrew Howard was fourth quickest with Ross Gunn in the #1 Beechdean-AMR, just 0.25s ahead of Rob Bell and Alasdair McCaig’s Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650s.
The AMDtuning.com BMW Z4, now in its fourth year of British GT with Joe Osborne and Lee Mowle was seventh quickest, 0.017s ahead of the new for 2016 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Marco Attard and Adam Carroll, being run by FF Corse.
Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes were ninth in the second TF Sport Aston Martin, with former British GT champ Barnes’ 2:00.787 giving the pair cheer.
It was a frustrating day for championship challengers Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, who could only qualify tenth, leading home the sister #666 Lamborghini of Richard Abra and Mark Poole, which had challenges presented by a new engine.
The Tolman Ginettas continued their improvement, with Luke Davenport and David Pattison’s G55 finishing 1.6s (three places) behind the Michael Simpson / Ian Stinton car. Notably, Davenport was just four tenths off of Ginetta test-driver Simpson’s best time.
All eyes will be on the Team Parker Bentley to see if it can again overcome the pit time penalty for winning last time out at Oulton Park. The #31 Bentley has a 20s penalty, the Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 15s, and the #33 Barwell Lamborghini 10s.
Tomorrow’s three-hour race, the only 180-minute encounter of the 2016 season, will begin at 12:50pm BST and will be shown in its entirety on Motors TV.