The Bentley Continental GT3 of Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris dominated this afternoon’s split British GT Championship qualifying sessions, claiming a clean sweep to guarantee a pole position start in both of Bank Holiday Monday’s (17 April). Morris’s lap was particularly special, as he became the first GT3 racer in the championship to dip beneath the 1m33s barrier.
Parfitt and Morris both drove superbly to claim the top spot in qualifying ahead of the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen – the second fastest car in each of the two sessions. In the first session for gentleman drivers, Parfitt and Minshaw were followed home by Jack Mitchell (Aston Martin), Liam Griffin (Lamborghini), and Mark Farmer (Aston Martin).
In the second pro session, former BTCC driver Sam Tordoff continued his full-time transition to the world of GT racing to qualify third in his Lamborghini, just ahead of Callum McLeod (Bentley) and Jon Barnes (Aston Martin).
Reigning champions Johnny Adam and Derek Johnston will have it all to do when the championship springs into life on Monday, starting from the back of the GT3 grid in both races. Johnston was unable to produce a representative lap time, whilst Adam was forced to miss the session due to racing commitments elsewhere in the country this weekend. As a result it will be fascinating to see how the car that was the undoubted class of the field in 2017 will fare on Monday.
Spoils were shared between the McLaren 570S of Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty, and the Ginetta G55 of Mike Simpson and Anna Waleskwa in the GT4 class during two separate sessions for the championship’s second class.
GT3 Am Qualifying Result
1, Rick Parfitt, Bentley Continental, 1m34.932s
2, Jon Minshaw, Lamborghini Huracan, +0.430s
3, Jack Mitchell, Aston Martin Vantage, +0.629s
4, Liam Griffin, Lamborghini Huracan, +1.211s
5, Mark Farmer, Aston Martin Vantage, 1.416s
GT3 Pro Qualifying Result
1, Seb Morris, Bentley Continental, 1m32.993s
2, Phil Keen, Lamborghini Huracan, +0.135s
3, Sam Tordoff, Lamborghini Huracan, +0.350s
4, Callum McLeod, Bentley Continental, +0.526s
5, Jon Barnes, Aston Martin Vantage, +0.628s
Following a day off tomorrow (Easter Sunday) – the venue and restaurant will be open but there will be no track action – the championship will erupt fully on Monday with two hour-long sprint races. There is plenty of scope across the one-hour duration for strategy variation, and with driver change and pit-stops a key factor; you can expect plenty of change up and down the field.
The grid for race one will be determined by the positions in the Am qualifying sessions, whilst the grid for race two is to be determined by the Pro results.
Monday will provide a great day out for all the family, with plenty of attractions adding to the fun, including market stalls, inflatable assault courses, and the venue’s biggest ever supercar display; the latter headlined by a 70-strong Ferrari display to celebrate the Italian manufacturer’s 70th anniversary.