It’s the second year in a row that Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard have put their Beachdean Aston Martin Vantage GT3 on pole. In British GT single race events, both drivers have their own qualifying session with their times added and the fastest of the combined times takes pole.
Jonny Adam was pleased;
“Everything went to plan! Practice this morning was a bit dramatic as we had a clutch problem, but the car felt really good in qualifying. We know it’s quick here after securing last year’s pole, too, so we’ll just try and convert it into a win. The weather looks a bit iffy, but we had good wet running on Friday so we’re prepared!”
The Beachdean drivers headed both the Pro and am sessions to take an easy pole by nearly a second from one of Von Ryan Racing’s Mclaren 650SGT3’s. This was the car that had been driven by Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey but after Salih was banned at Rockingham for causing a collision which took both Von Ryan cars out of the race the pairing was replaced. Giles Vannelet and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs now take over and are clearly off to a successful start with second on the grid.
Quaiffe-Hobbs was satisfied with their British GT debut;
“Everything ran smoothly, Gilles did a great lap in his session and we’ve finished second overall, so we’re really pleased! I think we’ve been really consistent, we’re starting from the front row and we’ve looked quick all weekend.”
Third are championship leaders, Ecurie Eccose who won at Rockingham. They will have the maximum pitstop handicap of 20 seconds for being the championship leaders to Marco Attard and Alexander Sims will have to push their BMW Z4 GT3 from the outset.
Attard seems confident;
“It’s a good position to be in. Of course it would’ve been better to be on pole but we struggled a bit with the set-up. It’s a long race so if we can hang on to where we are and go with the flow we can hopefully achieve a good result for the championship.”
Lee Mowle and Joe Osbourne’s similar BMW run by Triple Eight racing took fourth with the Oman Racing team Aston Martins taking fifth and sixth, filling the third row. Ahmad Al Harthy and Daniel Lloyd ahead of Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher.
The second of the Barwell run BMW’s is seventh. The Team Russia machine of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen had been much higher in the practice sessions but they were pushed down the order when it came to qualifying.
Eighth is a new entry from Team Parker, An Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 of Ian Loggie and Calum Macleod. Their stunning car looked great and proved it could go well too qualifying well in the front half of the GT3 field.
Ninth is the second Von Ryan Mclaren of Ross Wylie and Andrew Watson. The two will be hoping for more luck after being taken out of the race before the end of the first lap at Rockingham.
Completing the top ten is the TF Sport Aston of Derek Johnston and Matt Bell, with their team mates, Andrew Jarmin and Jody Fanin are down in seventeenth after a misfire slowed them.
The FF Corse Ferrari returns after it’s run in with the officials at Rockingham but Gary Eastwood has a new team mate in the form of Richard Lyons. They went well in practice but couldn’t reproduce the pace in qualifying to end up eleventh.
Another extra car at Silverstone was the Trackspeed Porsche of David Ashburn, making an unexpected return after the team was originally due to be sold. He teamed up with Norbert Siedler but the pairing could only manage sixteenth.
The GT4 battle proved to be even closer but we are without the Edwards sister’s this weekend after financial issues have forced them to withdraw from the weekend. Chloe had stepped down from the previous round at Rockingham but a new sponsor was expected to enable them to compete. Sadly they didn’t manage to get enough. Hopefully they will return soon.
One of the championship’s other female racers, the always rapid Jamie Chadwick was one of those involved in the battle for GT4 pole. Earlier in the first session it looked as though she and Ross Gunn may take another pole but they dropped to third by the end after Ross’s time wasn’t quite quick enough. It was the Issy Racing Lotus of Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw that won the battle in the end just beating the much improved Toyota GT86 of Richard Wiliams and Stefan Hodgetts by just 0.193 of a second.
Yusuf was happy to have won the battle;
“I’m really pleased to be starting on pole. It’s a long race and anything can happen but it’s always good to start from the front. Hopefully we can stay there and bring it home.”
Richard Williams on the other hand seemed surprised to have even been in the battle for pole!
“I didn’t expect to be that quick! I’ve never driven the new bit of the Grand Prix circuit so it took me some time to get my head around it, but I’m very happy to get the lap out of the car and be starting P2!”
Jamie Chadwick wasn’t too disappointed with her third place, explaining how traffic had hindered them;
“It was a good run but I was actually on a better lap second time around before getting caught up in traffic. Then Ross went out and did a great stint despite suffering a little bit of the same fate, so we couldn’t quite make pole. But we know between us that our pace is good, so we’re hoping for a good result tomorrow.”
The Chadwick/Gunn Beachdean Aston was just under two tenths clear of the fourth placed PMW Expo/Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G55 which making a guest appearance at Silverstone in the hands of Alistair Barclay and Charlie Hollings.
PMW team-mates and GT4 championship leaders Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson took fifth, while the Langley/Terry Hart Quantamatic Aston dropped two places to sixth during the second session. It was still a lot better for them than Rockingham when the session saw them roll out of the weekend with heavy damage to their car.
The GT4 category’s sole Porsche 911, run by BTCC team AmDTuning.com, of Graham Coomes and Jake Hill took seventh ahead of Paul McNeilly and Jamie Stanley in the Fox Motorsport Ginetta.
Anna Walewska and Rob Garofall had been running in the top ten in practice in the Bolton University/RLR Ginetta G55 but they found themselves only fifteenth but Anna Walewska wasn’t too downhearted;
“It’s a 3 hour race so qualifying isn’t that important, there’s a long way to go.”
Sunday’s three-hour race begins at 12:20 local time, with Motors TV’s live coverage starting at midday (Freeview 71 & 240, Sky 447 and Virgin Media 545). Tickets are available on the gate if you want to see the race in person with covered grandstands included in the ticket price you can shelter if the weather isn’t so good. By Marc Waller