Mark Farmer has taken his maiden pole position for TF Sport after winning the last round out at Spa-Francorchamps. It was a close battle between Jon Minshaw and him for the race one pole position but Farmer was faster by 0.075 seconds. Alex Reed took the first pole position of the season for Lanan Racing, comfortably clear of Championship leader Graham Johnson who had to settle for second. For race two Phil Keen will lead the pack, hoping to convert his pole into the win to close down on GT3 Championship leaders, who are starting behind the #33 Lamborghini Huracan in second. Ross Gunn took little time to readjust to the GT4 series, taking the second race pole position for teammate Jack Bartholomew and him by a comfortable half a second.
The GT3 Am drivers took to the track first, with Minshaw looking like he was on the pace from the start. He competitively held the pace for most of the ten-minute session before Farmer improves on his final lap, stealing pole position by a fractional 0.075 seconds. Derek Johnston was the only other driver to set a lap under 1:50.000, but was a good four tenths off the pace of those ahead of him and
had to settle with third. Rick Parfitt Jr, the closest Championship rival behind the #33 crew, could put his Bentley no higher than sixth position, starting behind Lee Mowle in the #7 AMDTuning.com BMW and Alasdair McCaig in the #79 Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S. McCaig had looked to be in the running for a second place start but could not keep up with the pace of those above him. The fourth Championship contender – #6 Barwell Motorsport – starts behind the Bentley of Parfitt/Sebastian Morris, whilst #32 Tolman Motorsport, #8 Motorbase Performance and #88 Team ABBA rounding off the top ten. A late surge saw #56 Tolman jump ahead of the #26 Ultimate Speed Aston Martin as #5 PFL Motorsport qualified at the back of the GT3 field for race one.
The GT4 Ams looked like it was going to be a battle between the Championship-leading #50 PMW World Expo Ginetta, driven (at the time) by Graham Johnson and #59 Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse in the hands of Sandy Mitchell. For the beginning of the session, it was Johnson who held provisional pole with Mitchell sitting a few tenths off, looking to improve. But a surprise surge by Reed saw the #51 Lanan Racing Ginetta shoot to the top of the time sheets where it would stay to take GT4 pole for race one. Johnson and Mitchell dropped down to second and third respectively. Matthew Graham followed for fourth in the #42 Generation AMR MacMillan Racing car with second-in-the-Championship Jack Bartholomew starting fifth in the #407 Beechdean. William Phillips took sixth in the #45 RCIB INSURANCE RACING Ginetta, with the sister car #75 – driven by Aaron Mason – lining up behind him. Eighth was the #60 Ebor GT Motorsport with #40 and #73 Century Motorsport finishing off the top ten.
The Pros, in both classes, had a much tighter battle in their qualifying sessions. It was Jonny Adam versus Phil Keen completing the pole shootout for race two. As much as Adam tried and as close as he got he could not find the last few hundredths of a second to take pole position off his main Championship rival. 0.051 seconds was the gap when the chequered flag fell, leaving promise of an exciting race off the line for tomorrow afternoon. The sister Lamborghini #6 qualified third at the hands of Alexander Sims, something that Barwell Motorsport could potentially use to their advantage. Morris was not on form as he could get the #31 Bentley no higher than ninth position. It was not a good day of qualifying for Team Parker Racing and they will be pushing to amend this in both races tomorrow. After his teammate set pole position for race one, Jon Barnes had to settle for fourth a full half a second off the pole-sitter’s pace. Joe Osborne did about as well as his teammate did to have them starting their AMDTuning.com BMW from fifth in race two, with the #79 Black Bull McLaren and the #32 Tolman Motorsport behind them. Jody Fannin qualified eighth which was a bit of a disappointment after he had been sat on provisional pole in the beginning of the session. Ross Wylie in the #8 Motorbase Performance Aston slots in behind Morris, finishing off the top ten. #88 Team ABBA finished eleventh, as Luke Davenport beat Matt Manderson to last on the GT3 grid by four-tenths of a second.
The final qualifying saw Ross Gunn remind everyone how he became GT4 Champion last year as he set a lap time over half a second faster than any of his challenger. He was unrivalled through the whole session, only improving on his lap time to further confirm his pole position. That puts his now-teammate Bartholomew in the best position to challenge the #50 PMW World Expo team for the Championship. The #50 car will start fifth for race two, handing Beechdean #407 a nice advantage. Matthew George had been impressively quick, holding onto provisional pole before Gunn had set his time. He lines up second for tomorrow’s afternoon race, with Joey Foster and Bradley Ellis behind him. The #59 Black Bull McLaren will start sixth on grid, in front of #42 Generation AMR MacMillan Racing and the second Beechdean. Nathan Freke took ninth in the #73 Century Motorsport car, with #75 RCIB INSURANCE RACING, driven by Robert Barrable, finishing off the top ten.