The #31 Team Parker Bentley and #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini will start from Pole Position for Race 1 and 2 respectively tomorrow, after two frantic Qualifying sessions at Spa-Francorchamps.
In the first session, Rick Parfitt stole the Pole Position for himself and Seb Morris in the #31 Team Parker Continental at the death, with a lap to beat out Snetterton Pole-sitter Jack Mitchell in the Macmillan AMR Vantage. It was an incredible time, 0.375 faster than Mitchell, after Parfitt’s first flying lap put him atop the screens briefly on the first round of laps.
Behind, the Piti Bhirombhakdi in the Kessel Racing Ferrari rounded out the top three in the first session, making for an impressive debut Qualifying in the series. His time was a 2:22.011, to go 1.3 seconds off the Pole time.
Completing the top five for the Race 1 grid were the #33 Barwell Lamborghini and the WRT Audi. Jon Minshaw’s performance to give himself and Keen fourth on the grid was particularly notable, a 2:22.5 his fastest ever tour of Spa.
In the second GT3 session, for Pro drivers, Phil Keen bettered the Parker Bentleys of Callum Macleod and Seb Morris to secure the best grid spot for Race 2. Keen’s time came at the end of the session, a 2:18.615 that was 0.025 quicker than Macleod’s best in the #7 Bentley right at the end of the session.
“I’m really pleased with this, now I want to get to the race as there’s no points for Qualifying,” Keen told DSC. “Jon did a mega job, his 22.5 was a mega effort. The team as a whole too has worked so hard to set up the car perfectly. I had a little bit of traffic at the Bus Stop but other than that it was a clear lap.
“Personally I’m surprised that we’re on Pole, as I thought the Bentleys would have the extra speed. We’re really looking forward to the races.”
Seb Morris eventually came in third in the #31 Parker Bentley. His best time was a 2:18.758, but the order at the top shuffled as Macleod and Keen posted quicker times in the final minutes.
Best of the rest was the Kessel Ferrari, which once again impressed on pace. Carlo van Dam’s 2:19.943 will leave the team confident heading into the race tomorrow. Jonny Adam meanwhile, steered the #1 TF Sport Aston Martin to fifth on the grid.
In the two GT4 sessions, HHC Motorsport and Tolman Motorsport scored Pole for races 1 and 2 respectively.
William Tregurtha was the star of the show in GT4 AM, with a 2:32.907 to beat Sandy Mitchell’s #100 Garage 59 McLaren 570S GT4 to the top spot. Tregurtha’s time came after the #51 Lanan Ginetta – that eventually finished up fourth – set the fastest time of the first batch of laps.
“We’re really pleased,” Tregurtha told DSC. “I’m not well, I’ve had tonsillitis and not felt great, so to come away from this with Pole was a real boost.
“It was a great lap, and I was really surprised that I could beat the #100 to Pole by two tenths.”
Behind in third, William Phillips in the #42 Macmillan AMR Vantage managed a 2:33.777 to round off the top three, ahead of the #51 Lanan G55 and #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin which came in fifth. The sister #59 Garage 59 570S GT4 finished up sixth.
In the second session, Joe Osborne put the Tolman Motorsport McLaren 570S GT4 on Pole. It was a sterling effort by the series veteran, who set a 2:32.191 with three minutes remaining in the session.
His time was 0.157 quicker than Ciaran Haggerty in the #100 McLaren 570S GT4, the Garage 59 squad once again having to settle for second best. It was nevertheless a great time, and the young Scott managed to go three tenths clear of the #42 Macmillan AMR Vantage of Jan Jonck.
Fourth and fifth respectively were the #29 In2Racing McLaren and #53 UltraTek RJN Nissan of Martin Plowman.
The Race 1 Pole-sitters will start from sixth in Race 2, with Stuart Middleton pushing hard in the HHC Ginetta, in the end crossing the line with a best time of 2:33.269.
While there were no incidents in any of the four sessions, two GT4 cars failed to make it out for times. The Ebor GT Maserati – which topped FP1 and FP2 in GT4 had a small part fail on the car, and the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport McLaren of reigning champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson suffered an electrical issue.
Both cars are expected to take part in tomorrow’s races.
Race 1 for the British GT runners tomorrow starts at 9:20am local time in Belgium.