Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam reigned supreme for a second year running in qualifying for the Silverstone 500 earlier today after once again securing pole position for round four of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
A clutch issue might have masked their free practice pace but the pair were simply unstoppable en route to a second pole and third front row start of the season after topping both 10-minute Am and Pro sessions, respectively.
Von Ryan Racing new boys Gilles Vannelet and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs line-up second aboard the first of the team’s McLaren 650S GT3s, with Ecurie Ecosse’s championship-leading Marco Attard and Alexander Sims – who will have to contend with the maximum 20-second pit-stop handicap tomorrow – taking third.
Howard’s initial flying lap of 2m04.390s laid the foundations for Beechdean’s pole after pipping Oman Racing Team’s Ahmad Al Harthy in the similar Aston Martin V12 Vantage by under a tenth. Vannelet meanwhile, making his first British GT appearance since 2006, slotted the Von Ryan McLaren into third ahead of Liam Griffin’s Oman Racing entry and Attard, who finished a second adrift of Howard.
Sims was then the first of the Pro drivers to breach the 2m02sec barrier, but his and Attard’s provisional pole was short-lived after their combined time was beaten by Quaife-Hobbs. But any hopes of McLaren securing their first British GT pole position with the 650S were soon derailed by the flying Adam whose individual 2m01.697s lap not only proved fastest of the weekend but also helped give he and Howard pole by a combined 0.937sec.
Joe Osborne was the only other driver to break into the 2m01sec bracket en route to fourth. The Triple Eight Racing driver picked up four places aboard the BMW Z4 GT3 after co-driver Lee Mowle ended the Am session eighth.
The combined efforts of Al Harthy and Daniel Lloyd, and Griffin and Rory Butcher see Oman Racing’s Astons annex row three, while the second Barwell Motorsport-run entry of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw makes it all three BMWs in the top-seven.
Team Parker Racing start their first British GT3 round of the season from eighth thanks to a solid effort by Ian Loggie and Callum MacLeod aboard their Audi R8 LMS ultra. The Watson/Wylie Von Ryan McLaren is ninth and Johnston/Bell TF Sport Aston Martin 10th.
After showing well in practice the FF Corse Ferrari of Gary Eastwood and Richard Lyons starts only 11th, while a misfire for Andrew Jarman and Jody Fannin’s TF Sport Aston meant they could manage no better than 17th.
Jonny Adam, Beechdean AMR #007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage: “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!”
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, Von Ryan Racing #12 McLaren 650S GT3: “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.”
Marco Attard, Ecurie Ecosse #1 BMW Z4 GT3: “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.”