Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim respectively will start the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin from pole position in both of Snetterton’s British GT races on Sunday, following a Saturday qualifying session held in much warmer weather conditions compared to the morning’s free practices.
The amateur drivers went out first as per usual, in this case to set the grid for the first of Sunday’s one-hour sprint races. Farmer and Graham Davidson (Jetstream Aston Martin) both set 1:49s to get things underway, ahead of Minshaw (Barwell Lamborghini), Parfitt (Team Parker Bentley), Howard (Beechdean Aston Martin), Loggie (Team Parker Bentley), Johnston (TF Sport Aston Martin) and Mole (ERC Sport Mercedes).
Meanwhile, Flick Haigh brought the Optimum Aston Martin back into the pits after her outlap for a tyre change, meaning she was a little later than the others setting her first flyer, which put her ninth with just over two minutes of the session remaining.
Jordan Witt briefly vaulted to fifth in the RJN Nissan GT-R, but then tumbled back down to 10th his time was deleted for a track-limits infraction. He did manage to record a similar time without exceeding the lines next time around and put the car a legitimate sixth, ahead of Sam de Haan in the second Barwell Lamborghini, who almost immediately snatched the place back.
There were no further improvements at the sharp end, leaving Farmer on pole ahead of Davidson, Minshaw, Parfitt and Howard. Witt responded to de Haan’s effort to go sixth once again right at the end, and behind that pair Loggie, Haigh, Johnston and Mowle completed the 11-strong GT3 grid.
In the pro-driver session to set the grid for Sunday’s second race, the first batch of flyers saw Thiim ahead of Keen, Martin, Sorensen, Buurman, Turner, Adam, Macleod and Ratcliffe. There were no initial times for Buurman, Moore and Cocker, as all had their first effort deleted for exceeding track limits at T10.
Next time around, Buurman briefly shot up to second-fastest with a 1:47.809, but his time was once again removed for a track-limits violation, while Cocker slotted into seventh with a 1:48.300.
No-one could beat Thiim’s 1:47.385 before the end of session, however, making it a double pole position in GT3 for the #11 TF Sport driver crew.
STOP PRESS: Maxime Martin (Jetstream Aston Martin) has been moved to the back of the grid for race two, as he didn’t complete the mandatory number of laps in his qualifying session. Graham Davidson’s starting position for race one is unaffected.
Century and Academy on GT4 poles at Snetterton
Ben Tuck, driving the #42 Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, took the overall class pole at Snetterton for Round Four of the British GT Championship. Tuck lapped the 4.78km Norfolk circuit in 1:58.438 on his final lap of a session of which he topped the time-sheets throughout. Second quickest in the Am qualifying session was Callum Pointon in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 who put in a 1:58.990.
Completing the top three in the first session was the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 in which Will Moore put in a 1:59.201
Quickest of the Silver class GT4 entries for the first race of Sunday May 27’s double-header was the #72 Track-Club McLaren 570S GT4 driven by Adam Balon who lapped in 2:00.120
Century Motorsport’s Ben Tuck was delighted with the first position of the season for the #42 car
“It felt really good. It felt like we were struggling a little bit in practice but we knew where we were going with the set-up of the car,” said Ben Tuck. “Century Motorsport and BMW have done an amazing job with this car so it felt great to get the first pole position for the car here.”
Ben Tuck is looking forward to Round Four of the Championship and believes that a podium finish is achievable.
“We had a podium at the first race at Oulton but it was taken away from us for being half a second too quick in the pits,” continued Ben Tuck. “Starting from pole tomorrow, we’re confident.”
There was disappointment for UltraTek Racing Team RJN after having changed the engine in the #53 car following an oil-pump problem earlier in the day. A gearbox issue meant that Kelvin Fletcher struggled to set a competitive qualifying time in the Am session.
Qualifying for the second one-hour race, Round Five of the Championship, in which the Pro drivers will start, saw pole position go to the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin in which Matt Nicoll-Jones lapped in 1:57.854.
Century Motorsport’s successful afternoon continued after Jack Mitchell was second quickest in the ten-minute session with a 1:57.920.
Academy Motorsport finished the session first and third after Jan Jonck lapped in 1:57.959 in the #61 car to go third quickest.
“That, for me, was an absolutely perfect lap,” said Matt Nicoll-Jones. “There was nothing more I could get out of that myself. I’m happy for the team because it’s been a lot of hard work”
“Hopefully we can manage tyres in the race because we don’t want to chase away what we’ve achieved. The car is perfect at the moment.”
The lights go out for Race 1, Round Four of the British GT Championship, at 11:00 on May 27.
Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography