Snetterton, England 4 August 2012 – A monsoon like downpour prevented qualifying for round five of the 2012 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton today, with the race director deciding positions being based upon the results of the days earlier two free practice sessions. The resulting decision sees Trackspeed (GT3), Team WFR (GT4) and FF Corse (GTC) landing double pole positions for both of tomorrow’s two 60-minute races.
Excessive water and in parts flooding on track was in total contrast to the earlier free practice sessions which were dry albeit under a cloudy Norfolk sky. In the first session, it was series returnee Richard Westbrook (#31 Trackspeed Porsche) who ended up quickest in the GT3class, after a stunning time of 1:50.360 was enough to dethrone Michael Caine (#11 Motorbase Porsche) who had led the majority of the one-hour practice.
Ashburn will assume pole for race one, with Westbrook starting sixth for race two, having been unable to set a time on new tyres in free practice two. Caine’s partner, Daniele Perfetti will start alongside Ashburn in race one and Caine will start race two from third place, with Motorbase team-mate Benji Hetherington (#10 Motorbase Porsche) alongside him in fourth. Hetherington’s driving partner, Steve Parish will start race one from twelfth.
Taking pole for race two was former BTCC star and multiple Porsche Carrera Cup GB Champion, Tim Harvey. Having managed to get out on new tyres before free practice two was red flagged, Harvey made the most of the fresh rubber and becomes the sixth different pole position sitter ineight races. Harvey’s team-mate, historic racer Jon Minshaw will start race one from seventh.
Championship contenders, Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin (MTECH Ferrari 458 GT3) will face a tricky pair of races tomorrow. The Ferrari duo will start eighth in race one and eleventh in race two, andwill seek to obtain as many points as possible as title rival Ashburn starts ahead of them for both races.
Jonny Adam qualified the Beechdean Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 he shares with Andrew Howard third for race one which Howard will start, Adam will begin race two from tenth. United Autosports, debuting their McLaren MP4-12c this weekend had two promising performances in free practice; Charles Bateman starts fourth and Matt Bell ninth.
Rockingham winners Steve Tandy and Joe Osborne will start sixth and second respectively in the third Trackspeed car, and Brands Hatch victors RJN Motorsport (Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3) will start eleventh (Jann Mardenborough) and fifth (Alex Buncombe) for races one and two tomorrow.
Ecurie Ecosse had a day of mixed fortunes.Tomorrow they start ninth in race one with Alasdair McCaig and seventh for race two with Ollie Millroy at the wheel. However, during the second free practice session Millroy ran wide overtaking a GT4 Ginetta at the Esses and impactedhard into the barriers, causing significant damage to the BMW Z4 GT3 and bringing out the red flag which ended the session some twenty minutes early.
An assortment of teams led the GT4 class in free practice, but it was the championship leaders, Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes that finished on top in both races, closely followed by Ginetta stalwarts Lee Mowle and George Murrells (Optimum Motorsport Ginetta G50) inrace one and the increasingly rapid APO Sport Ginetta of Alex Osborne and James May in race two.
Third in both races are Mazda duo Owen Mildenhall and Mark Ticehurst (Jota Sport Mazda MX-5 GT4), and Osborne willbegin race one from fifth and Murrells will begin race two from fourth. Century Motorsport’s drivers Dom Evans and Zoe Wenham struggled to find a meaningful setup for their Ginetta G50 and will start fourth (Wenham) and fifth (Evans) tomorrow.
The battle between FF Corse and Chevron for GTC honours was won by the debutants, Gary Eastwood and Ryan Hooker will start both races ahead of the GT4 field and were comfortably ahead of their rivals David Witt and Ray Grimes in the bright yellow Chevron GR-8.
Full grids for tomorrow’s races are available here: http://bit.ly/QhS5K9
Race one is due to start at 11:30am tomorrow, with race two at 16:50 (all times BST).