Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam took pole when their combined times from the two sessions were added together. Howard was second fastest amateur and with Adam being the third fastest pro, their time was the best overall. Jonny spoke for the duo;
“Brands Hatch is a great circuit for the Aston: we were on pole here last year and were hoping for a good result in qualifying. The problem is that 20-second success penalty. I know we’re starting in the best position possible but it’s really a case of damage limitation. But Andrew [Howard] was quick today so if he can get his head down and establish a small gap you never know. As for my lap, I should have nailed it on the second run. Perhaps a couple of tenths got away from us there. But in the end it didn’t matter.”
Ross Wylie had taken pole in the Amateur session but his team mate in the Von Ryan Mclaren, Andrew Watson was eighth in his session meaning that overall they weren’t quick enough for pole and line up third still their best result of the season. Wylie was happy with their result;
The team’s put such an effort into this all year. It’s been blood, sweat and tears! And it feels like we’ve paid them back a little, although this is still only stage one. We’re all fairly satisfied but know the hard work starts tomorrow. We are still young drivers and are going to make mistakes from time to time, but the Silver Cup status and extra weight that entails has perhaps masked our potential a little. We’ve just got to make the most of it. Maybe a change of livery this weekend made the difference!”
The closest challengers to Beachdean were the Triple Eight pairing of Lee Mowle and Joe Osbourne. Mowle said how their session went;
“We had some useful track time here racing in the Blancpain Sprint Series, which perhaps helped our preparation. I was pretty happy with my lap, which meant Joe could at least have a crack and that’s all he really needed. But we’re desperate for a good race result after Spa and starting on the front row alongside the Beechdean crew, who have to serve their additional 20 seconds in the pits, at least gives us an opportunity. I’d have ripped someone’s arm off this morning if they’d offered us the front row!”
In fourth were the Ecurie Ecosse duo of Alexander Sims and Marco Attard in their BMW Z4 GT3. Sims was the fastest pro but with Attard only tenth in his session they line up fourth. They had been fastest in the practice sessions but couldn’t quite match that performance this time.
Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher are fifth in their Oman Racing (Motorbase) Aston Martin just ahead of the similar TF sport Aston Martin of Jody Fanin and Andrew Jarman. Ff Corse’s Gary Eastwood and Adam Carroll were seventh in their Ferrari with Ahmad Al Harthy alongside with his team mate Daniel Lloyd. Al Harthy had been the third quickest Amateur but Lloyd couldn’t do as well in his session dropping them to eighth.
It’s another Aston Martin in ninth with Matt Bell and Derek Johnston looking quicker than that early on. Tenth was the first of the works Ginetta GT3 of Mike Simpson and Steve Tandy. The Second Barwell car of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen only managed eleventh despite never being outside the top three in practice. Twelfth is the second of the works Ginettas driven by Rick Parfitt Jr and Tom Olliphant.
In GT4 the Ginetta G55 Gt4’s and Lotus Evora GT4’s were setting the pace and not the Aston Martin Gt4’s which have topped the times for most of the season. It was the Fox Motorsport Ginetta of Paul McNeilly and Jamie Stanley that came out on top a second ahead of the Issy Racing Lotus of Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw.
Both McNeilly and Stanley were very happy about their first pole in the championship. Mcneilly explained it hadn’t been an easy day;
“After the problems we had this morning it was nice to get out there and see what we could really do. I was only two hundredths off the fastest in my session, so almost a double pole of sorts! And it’s great to do it on our home track as well. We’ve always known the pace is in the car but perhaps been a little unlucky here and there with Safety Cars and what not. We’ve got pace over a race distance as well as one lap so fingers crossed it’ll go our way tomorrow.”
Jamie Stanley was very happy to take pole for the team;
We’ve worked really hard at it and Brands is my favourite circuit, too. Plus, it’s where I wrapped up the championship in 2010, so it’s always been a special circuit for me. Getting pole here feels mega. We didn’t take new tyres in practice so knew we had the pace, just perhaps not that much pace! The time was a nice surprise when it came up on the dash. There wasn’t much left on the table over that second quick lap.”
Kershaw seemed happy with second;
“We struggled around here last year and the Ginettas were always going to be quick so I’m really happy with second, especially as I felt like I did what I could on my best lap. If we can keep the Beechdean youngsters behind us tomorrow I’ll be even happier! There were a few accidents around Brands last season so over two hours it’s about keeping your nose clean and just trying to pick up a few more points than them before getting our head down in the sprint races on home ground at Snetterton. The car feels good and we spent free practice using old tyres to simulate race conditions, so we’re in a good place Third was the Century Motorsport Ginetta of Aleksander Schuerpen and James Birch. Aleksander was happy to settle for a second row start;
“We’re pretty happy with that after a few issues in FP2 meant we didn’t get as much track time as would have been ideal. P3 is a good starting point for tomorrow and I’m expecting an exciting race. We had our problems at Spa but knew the pace was there to challenge, and that’s been evident again today. Hopefully we can turn that promise into a decent result.”
Fourth was the Academy Motorsport Aston of Will Moore and Denis Strandberg. Their team mates Chris Webster and Mike Hart took the final spot in the top ten. Fifth and unusually off the pace were Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn in the Beachdean Aston Martin Gt4. The other female race in the championship, Anna Walewska was sixth in the University of Bolton Ginetta with team mate Rob Garofall. They had ran higher in practice and could spring a surprise in the race. Seventh were Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson in their Optimum motorsport run Gineeta just ahead of the AMD Tuning Porsche of Graham Coomes and Jake Hill. On the fifth row alongside the second Academy Aston is the Tolman Motorsport Ginetta of David Pattison and Luke Davenport.
Sunday’s two-hour race gets underway at 1:30pm, with live coverage on Motors TV starting 20 minutes before. Tickets are available on the gate. By Marc Waller