Current points leaders Ecurie Ecosse and defending champions Beechdean Motorsport clinched a pole position apiece following qualifying for the latest rounds of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton.
Marco Attard clinched pole for race one with a fine lap of 1min 51.122secs in the #79 BMW Z4 GT3 to earn his place at the head of the pack for the opening hour long race on Sunday, with the Ecurie Ecosse car ending up some six-tenths of a second clear of the field behind.
That field was headed by AF Corse’s Pasin Lathouras, with an impressive run from the Ferrari driver seeing him secure his place on the front row of the grid having been the pace-setter in the early part of the session.
Jody Firth was third for Trackspeed, with the Porsche driver left to rue traffic on his quick lap when well placed to earn a front row start, with Mark Poole joining him on the second row at the wheel of his MP Motorsport Aston Martin.
Jon Minshaw in the second of the Trackspeed Porsches, and Phil Dryburgh’s Aston Martin rounded out the top six.
The second session saw Jonathan Adam produce by far the quickest lap of the day to secure pole for Beechdean, with the Scot becoming the only man to break the 1min 49secs mark.
A lap of 1min 48.979secs gave him a margin over more than half a second place over Adam Carroll, who produced a star performance of his own to take a front row start in his first outing with FF Corse.
Adam’s charge was aided by a mid-session red flag when the Bentley of Steven Kane stopped on circuit with a mechanical issue; the M-Sport driver being consigned to the back of the pack as a result.
Joe Osborne headed a closely-fought back behind in third, with Jonny Cocker in the Ecurie Ecosse BMW, Tom Onslow-Cole’s Aston Martin and the Audi of Matt Bell completing the top six.
In the GT4 class, the ISSY Racing Lotus of Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw backed up its practice pace to secure a pair of pole positions.
Yusuf topped the times in the opening 15 minute session with a three-tenths of a second advantage over the Century Motorsport Ginetta of Rick Parfitt, with Ross Wylie slotting into third in Beechdean’s Aston Martin.
Kershaw then doubled up in the second session after coming out on top of a session long battle with the Team Parker Porsche of Dan Cammish; the reigning Formula Ford champion having looked set to snare top spot before Kershaw fought back to take pole by a tenth of a second.
Bradley Ellis took third in the Twisted Team Parker Ginetta, albeit nearly a second further back.
Following a ten minute warm-up session at 09:00, the opening 60 minute race will take place on Sunday at 11:40, with race two due to start at 16:25.
Marco Attard – #79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3:
“I’m really pleased with the result and its great to be on pole. To be honest I was a bit surprised as I got caught up in traffic and it all came down to the final lap; I certainly didn’t expect to get into the 51s. Jonny did well to qualify fourth for race two so we are up towards the front and it’s important that we stay out of trouble as anything can happen tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll be easier to do that where we’ve qualified.”
Pasin Lathouras – #29 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia:
“I’m very happy to be on the front row and second on the grid is a good result for us after some difficult races. It’s a pleasant surprise, but I had a good feeling coming here as I did well in testing. I think the races will be close.”
Jody Firth – #12 Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R:
“The tyres were at their best on the first lap and I went purple in sectors one and two, but then hit traffic towards the end of the lap and it meant I lost the chance to set a really quick time. The rears went away but I managed to get into the low 52s despite more traffic. I don’t think we could have beaten the BMW to pole, but we could certainly have been on the front row.”
Oz Yusuf – #77 ISSY Racing / Oz Yusuf Lotus Evora GT4:
“I’ve been working really hard and am learning from the best in Gav, and today it all came together. I’ve got to aim to keep my position in the race and then I can hand the car over to him in the best position possible and we can go for the win. I have to give credit to the team for their work as we wouldn’t be here without them; they’ve been brilliant.”
Jonathan Adam – #1 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3:
“I got the lap in early when the tyres were at their best before the red flag came out, and the balance of the car felt really good on the new rubber. It would probably have been closer without the red flag as some of the others missed out on their quickest lap, but I was surprised by how quick we managed to go when I saw a 1min 48secs come up on the dash. Race one will be hard with the time penalty we carry, but we’re certainly going for the win from the front in race two.”
Adam Carroll – #18 FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia:
“I’ve always said the biggest mistake you can make as a driver is to go into a championship and think it will be easy, and my aim has always been to just go out on track and try to get the best I can from the car. The car has been good all day, the team has done a great job and I’m very happy with second on the grid. We have good pace in the car and it’s been consistent, so I’m looking forward to the races. The field is very close and there are some good drivers on track. It’s nice to see the British GT Championship in such good shape.”
Joe Osborne – #88 Triple Eight BMW Z4 GT3:
“I think third on the grid was the least that we deserved and it certainly could have been worse for us as I was blocked on a quick lap. This is the circuit where we have done a lot of testing so we have been on the pace from the start and it really helped Lee. We know that we have a better car in a race situation than in qualifying and it looks after its tyres well, so we should be in good shape.”
Gavan Kershaw – #77 ISSY Racing / Oz Yusuf Lotus Evora GT4:
“Dan gave me a real run for my money but I was able to get a clear lap where I didn’t have to worry about traffic in front or deal with GT3 cars coming up behind me. I was in the right place at the right time; and a bit of local knowledge didn’t do any harm! Oz did a great job as well so we’re in a fantastic position for race day.”
Dan Cammish – #44 Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT4:
“The Lotus was very quick and I think he may have had a bit more in reserve. I gave it my all and we have a good gap to the guys behind so I think the race will probably see Gavan break away from me and then I’ll gap the cars behind. We’ll see what happens.”
Bradley Ellis – #46 Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G55 GT4:
“We expected a bit of a gap to the Lotus and the Porsche, but could maybe have been closer without the red flag. We’re best of the rest and quickest Ginetta, which is what we can really measure ourselves against. Adrian closed the gap to the others in his session and if we can have two solid races tomorrow, I’d like to think we can come away from at least one of them with a podium finish.”