Fox Motorsport Ginetta heads ISSY Racing and Century Motorsport

Quick times from both Paul McNeilly and Jamie Stanley helped Fox Motorsport’s Ginetta G55 GT4 dominate qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s sixth Avon Tyres British GT Championship round of the season at Brands Hatch.

Stanley’s Pro session best of 1m32.413s built on the earlier good work of co-driver McNeilly, who ended up second in Am, to record a combined time of 3m06.578s. That was enough to take pole by almost a second from Oz Yusuf and Gavan Kershaw’s ISSY Racing Lotus Evora, which had earlier spent time at the top.

Aleksander Schjerpen and James Birch ended up third, the Century Motorsport pairing falling just 0.027s shy of second in class.

While Stanley settled matters reasonably swiftly after the swap, the first GT4 session for Am drivers proved breathless. Indeed, just a second covered the top-six after the first 10 minutes.

Yusuf drew first blood, twice setting the class benchmark before being toppled by Academy Motorsport’s Will Moore and then McNeilly in quick succession. Schjerpen was soon in on the act as well, although his best wasn’t quite a match for the Fox Motorsport Ginetta.

Then, with the clock long since ticked past zero, Moore posted a late flyer to seal provisional pole position for the second time in the session, his 1m34.145s lap just 0.020s faster than McNeilly. Schjerpen, Yusuf, Beechdean AMR’s Jamie Chadwick and University of Bolton driver Anna Walewska completed the top-six.

Ultimately the #61 Academy Aston Martin was unable to cling on to top spot in the hands of Dennis Strandberg, who ended up fourth, while a lack of pace all day for championship leaders Chadwick and Ross Gunn mean they line-up fifth tomorrow with the added burden of a 15-second success penalty to overcome.

Walewska and Rob Garofall retained sixth ahead of Optimum Motorsport’s Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson, while Spa podium finishers Graham Coomes and Jake Hill – the latter one of only three drivers to dip into the 1m32s bracket – will have to come through from seventh aboard the Porsche 911.

Tolman Motorsport had looked good in both free practice sessions but start only ninth tomorrow despite Luke Davenport recording the second fastest Pro time. The second Academy Motorsport Aston of Chris Webster and Mike Hart completes the top-10.

Tomorrow’s two-hour race gets underway at 13:30 BST, with live coverage on Motors TV (Freeview 71 & 240, Sky 447 and Virgin Media 545) commencing 20 minutes before.

Paul McNeilly, #48 Fox Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4: “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, #48 Fox Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4: “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.”

Gavan Kershaw, #77 ISSY Racing Lotus Evora GT4: “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.”

Aleksander Schjerpen, #43 Century Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4: “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.”