Barwell and Academy take poles in an exciting British GT qualifying at Brands Hatch

Pole for Demon Tweeks (Photo by Marc Waller)Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen conquered changing conditions at Brands Hatch to claim pole position for Sunday’s penultimate round of the 2017 British GT Championship.

In Gt4, Academy Motorsport’s last minuter decision to switch to slick tyres on a rapidly drying track helped Will Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones secure Gt4 pole in an incredibly close session.

Macmillan AMR’s James Littlejohn and Jack Mitchell line up on the overall front row after lapping a combined 2.7s slower than Minshaw and Keen, while Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell’s Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren fell 0.132s shy of toppling Nicoll-Jones and Moore’s Aston Martin.

Heavy rain before the sessions meant that wet tyres were essential for the two GT3 sessions with rain still falling for part of the first. By the time the GT4s came out, a dry line was emerging and by the final Gt4 session slicks were an option which the Academy Motorsport team took full advantage of.

Keen was pleased to get pole in an important weekend for the team’s championship bid;

“Barwell and Lamborghini have done a great job. The car felt good all morning in the dry and obviously it works just as well in the wet. Jon’s once again shown his class and was really on it in those tough conditions. I think the track got a bit slower towards the end - sometimes there’s actually less grip when the top layer of water gets washed away - but we’d already done enough with the early laps.”

Matt Nicoll-Jones was pleased with their decision to go for slicks;

“I made a decision at the start not to go too quickly because I didn’t want other teams seeing the fast sectors and switching to slicks. I know a few of them then did but, well, they should have done it earlier! We had a podium here in the European championship earlier this year but have missed out on the top step a few times this season after having the rug pulled out from under our feet. But we’ve now got a chance to put that right tomorrow.”

Academy took advantage of the drying conditions for Gt4 pole (Photo by Marc Waller) Anna Walewska is fast in the dry and should go well in the race (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Anna Walewska and Mike Simpson line up outside the top ten after opting not to go with slicks in the second session although Simpson still put in a strong laptime. Walewska is the champinship’s sole female competitor this year. She had lead one of the practice sessions earlier in the day in dry conditions but the changing wet to dry state of the track in qualifying just didn’t seem to suit their set up and they didn’t have quite the same pace. But the race is forecast dry so we may see a fight up the field from the Ginetta duo.

The two hour race gets underway at ten past two with live coverage on Frontrunner TV and also on Youtube. By Marc Waller

 

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