Third in a row and fourth of the season for Beechdean AMR pair
Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam scored their fourth Avon Tyres British GT Championship pole position of the season at Brands Hatch today after coming out on top in a fierce battle with Triple Eight pairing Lee Mowle and Joe Osborne.
Neither Aston Martin driver set the benchmark laps in their respective Am and Pro sessions but were still collectively quick enough to emerge with the fastest total time. Their 2m51.606s proved 0.262s better than the chasing BMW Z4 GT3 that had initially moved from fifth to first in the hands of Osborne, one of only three drivers to dip below the 1m25s barrier.
Von Ryan Racing’s Ross Wylie had headed the times after the initial 10-minute Am session before co-driver Andrew Watson climbed aboard. Together the McLaren youngsters and Silver Cup crew claimed third overall, their best qualifying result of the season.
Alexander Sims’ 1m24.702s was the fastest time of the Pro session but, with co-driver Marco Attard only setting the 10th quickest lap in his segment, the championship leaders start only fourth. However, the Barwell Motorsport-run BMW is racing without the same pit-stop success penalty that Beechdean’s title chasers will have to overcome.
Fellow championship contenders Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher head row three aboard their Oman Racing Team Aston Martin alongside Jody Fannin and Andrew Jarman’s TF Sport-prepared V12 Vantage that set the fourth fastest Am time in the latter’s hands.
Two promising free practice sessions didn’t quite result in a top grid slot for Gary Eastwood and Adam Carroll’s FF Corse Ferrari, which qualified seventh ahead of the second Oman Racing Aston despite Ahmad Al Harthy taking it to third in the Am segment.
Matt Bell and Derek Johnston’s early promise ultimately amounted to ninth, with the Mike Simpson/Steve Tandy Team LNT Ginetta completing the top-10. Team-mates Tom Oliphant and Rick Parfitt Jr are 12th despite the latter setting the fastest final Am sector time. They’re split by Barwell’s Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen who will have to go some if they’re to repeat their Spa podium.
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.
Jonny Adam, #007 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage: “Brands Hatch is a great circuit for the Aston: we were on pole here last year and were hoping for a good result in qualifying. The problem is that 20-second success penalty. I know we’re starting in the best position possible but it’s really a case of damage limitation. But Andrew [Howard] was quick today so if he can get his head down and establish a small gap you never know. As for my lap, I should have nailed it on the second run. Perhaps a couple of tenths got away from us there. But in the end it didn’t matter.”
Lee Mowle, #888 Triple Eight Racing BMW Z4 GT3: “We had some useful track time here racing in the Blancpain Sprint Series, which perhaps helped our preparation. I was pretty happy with my lap, which meant Joe could at least have a crack and that’s all he really needed. But we’re desperate for a good race result after Spa and starting on the front row alongside the Beechdean crew, who have to serve their additional 20 seconds in the pits, at least gives us an opportunity. I’d have ripped someone’s arm off this morning if they’d offered us the front row!”
Ross Wylie, #10 Von Ryan Racing McLaren 650S GT3: “The team’s put such an effort into this all year. It’s been blood, sweat and tears! And it feels like we’ve paid them back a little, although this is still only stage one. We’re all fairly satisfied but know the hard work starts tomorrow. We are still young drivers and are going to make mistakes from time to time, but the Silver Cup status and extra weight that entails has perhaps masked our potential a little. We’ve just got to make the most of it. Maybe a change of livery this weekend made the difference!”