In the pair of one-hour practice sessions for the third round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, Trackspeed Racing topped the standings, ahead of today’s qualifying session. In fact, not only did the Trackspeed 997GT3R of David Ashburn and Nick Tandy set the best time in practice two, the trio of team car’s occupied spots 1, 2 and 3 in the first session of the day
In practice one, it was Westbrook setting the pace with a 1:23.185 early in the session, ousting the sister car of Ashburn and Tandy into second by two-hundredths. A further three-tenths off the lead time was the third Trackspeed Porsche of Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw, who set their fastest lap on their twelfth time around the two-mile Rockingham circuit. Placing fourth and the first car not built in Stuttgart was Joe Osborne’s and Lee Mowle’s 888 Optimum BMW. The Z4 posted a time of 1:23.703, before it was involved in a collision at the final corner with the Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin of Richard Abra and Mark Poole, that left the BMW with a puncture hole in the drivers door.
Following it’s recent homologation that means the M-Sport Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra is officially entered into the GT3 category, Rembert Berg and Warren Hughes set a 1:23.992 to place fifth in practice one. Unable to dip into the 23’s, Fortec’s Jason Minshaw and Benji Hetherington ended the session sixth with a 1:24.831, eight-hundredths ahead of Poole and Abra’s Vantage GT3. The first Ferrari on the list was the Jay Palmer and Matteo Bobbi 458 Italia with a 1:24.931, besting the Matt Bell and Mark Patterson United Autosports Audi. Placing tenth was the Marco Attard and Oliver Bryant Ecurie Ecosse BMW on 1:25.255.
Practice two was just as rewarding for Trackspeed, with Tandy and Ashburn posting a 1:23.659 to keep the Osborne and Mowle BMW at bay by three-tenths. Improving on their time in the first session to place third was the United Autosports Audi of Bell and Patterson, who were a tenth quicker than Fisken and Westbrook on 1:24.169. Securing fifth, just as they did in the first session was Remberg and Hughes in the M-Sport Audi, beating Palmer and Bobbi’s Vita4one Ferrari 458 Italia who set a time of 1:24.471. Just four-thousandths away from the Ferrari was the Steve Tandy and Dan Brown 888 Optimum BMW, who only just shaded the United Autosports Audi of Zak Brown and Alvaro Parente. Rounding out the top ten, was Attard and Bryant’s Z4, plus the PGF Kinfaun Aston Martin Vantage of John Gaw and Phil Dryburgh.
Although Mark Blundell and Jody Firth struggled to reach twenty-fourth in the United Autosports McLaren, they were still involved in the action. A collision between Blundell and the GT4 Ginetta of Ryan Ratcliffe, resulted in an impromptu session of finger-wagging. Incensed by the collision that clearly damaged his G50, Ratcliffe parked his car in pit-lane and made straight for the McLaren box, where he was seen to remonstrate with the former F1 star as he sat in his car.
Qualifying for tomorrow’s two-hour race is scheduled to start at 4:10pm, follow the action live via Racing.GT’s live ticker feed.