TF Sport dominates qualifying
TF Sport co-drivers Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim dominated GT3 qualifying at Snetterton by claiming the pole position for the Sunday’s two British GT races. Century Motorsport’s Ben Tuck and Academy Motorsport’s Matt Nicoll-Jones shared the GT4 spoils.
TF Sport topped both 10-minute qualifying sessions, although Farmer and Thiim’s respective poles couldn’t have been any different. Farmer was pushed all the way by Jetstream Motorsport’s Graham Davidson and Barwell’s Jon Minshaw, who both finished within a tenth of the #11 Aston Martin after all three drivers hit the front early on. However, Farmer was never headed en route to his second pole position at Snetterton in three years.
Davidson, who missed out on pole by just 0.048s, at least made it an all-Aston Martin front row ahead of Minshaw and reigning champion Rick Parfitt Jnr, who also cemented his and Team Parker’s place in the top-four early on. Andrew Howard’s Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage heads up row three alongside Jordan Witt’s RJN Motorsport Nissan, which got the better of Sam De Haan’s Barwell Lamborghini late in the session. Ian Loggie completed the top-eight aboard the second of Team Parker’s Bentleys.
The second GT3 session was settled almost before it began thanks to Thiim, whose initial 1m47.385s never came under any serious threat. Championship leader Yelmer Buurman went closest to beating the Dane. But when the ERC Sport driver’s fastest time was deleted for a track limits violation, the difference between first and second – inherited by Barwell’s Phil Keen – extended to 0.531s. Jetstream Motorsport’s Maxime Martin was third but starts the second race from the back of GT3’s grid after failing to complete the minimum number of required laps. Marco Sorensen therefore heads up row two in the second of TF Sport’s Aston Martins, while Darren Turner’s Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage starts fourth.
The two Jonnys – Barwell’s Cocker and Optimum’s Adam – also moved up to fifth and sixth ahead of Team Parker’s Callum Macleod and Buurman.
GT4 served up two excellent qualifying sessions, albeit for different reasons. While Tuck beat his nearest rivals by half-a-second, the subsequent session saw Nicoll-Jones lead a top-seven separated by just 0.4s. Tuck began the first session as he intended to finish it by immediately leaping to the top of the times and staying there with a subsequently faster time. His best of 1m58.438s proved far too hot for a chasing pack headed by championship leader Callum Pointon whose late improvement aboard HHC’s Ginetta was still 0.552s slower than the BMW ahead. Academy Motorsport’s Will Moore had been Tuck’s nearest rival for much of the first session but ended up two tenths behind Pointon in the final reckoning. He was a similar margin ahead of Tom Canning, who posted Steller Motorsport and Toyota’s best qualifying performance of the year in fourth.
Wood was next up in the second of Academy’s Aston Martins, while Lewis Proctor relieved Tolman Motorsport team-mate Michael O’Brien of sixth after the chequered flag had flown. Finlay Hutchison’s Equipe Verschuur McLaren completed the first eight positions ahead of top PRO/AM performer, Adam Balon. The all-Pro session produced an incredibly close result, with 0.066s separating first from second and just 0.4s covering a top-seven comprising six different manufacturers.
The die was cast early when Nicoll-Jones’s best of 1m57.854s edged out Century’s BMW driven by Jack Mitchell. Academy’s second Aston Martin took a little longer to join the party but well and truly arrived when Jan Jonck slotted into third after lapping just 0.1s slower than his team principal. That pushed Team Parker Racing’s Scott Malvern down to fourth, the Mercedes-AMG ending up just 0.033s behind Jonck but fastest of the Pro/Am contingent by 0.117s from Tolman’s Joe Osborne who starts right behind in fifth.
Sennan Fielding again hinted at the Steller Motorsport Toyota’s potential by qualifying sixth, while Jesse Anttila made up for UltraTek Racing Team RJN missing FP1 by qualifying his Nissan seventh. Century’s second BMW driven by Ben Green completed the top-eight.