FP1: Barnes leads TF Sport 1-2 with Reed topping GT4 at the ‘Donington Decider’
Jon Barnes led a TF Sport one-two in opening practice at the ‘Donington Decider’ this morning, with Lanan Racing’s Alex Reed heading the GT4 category for Lanan Racing. The title chasing #33 Lamborghini and #31 Bentley meanwhile were separated by less than half-a-second, as they finished the hour-long session in third and fourth in the hands of Jon Minshaw and Rick Parfitt Jnr respectively.
The British GT field was confronted with a damp Donington Park circuit as FP1 got underway in Leicestershire, with the initial pace being set by Charlie Fagg in the JRM Advanced Engineering-run Nissan.
As the track continued to dry, Sam Tordoff jumped to the top of the timing screens in the #6 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini before handing over to his co-driver Liam Griffin. Mark Farmer slotted into second in the #11 Aston Martin as the session moved past its halfway point, with Fagg retaining third.
The pace continued to quicken with the #7 Team Parking Racing Bentley being driven by Callum Macleod briefly topping the timing screens before the #11 TF Sport Aston Martin, now being piloted by Jon Barnes, posted a 1m28.825s to reclaim top spot. Its sister car, the #1 of Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam jumped up to second in the closing stages, with Adam at the wheel, as championship leader Parfitt claimed third.
That looked to be the final order but the #33 Lamborghini put in a late charge under Minshaw’s control to lap the 2.498-mile Donington Park circuit 0.487s quicker than title rival Parfitt, securing third ahead of the Bentley.
Fifth went the way of Richard Neary’s #88 Mercedes-AMG who finished ahead of Liam Griffin’s Lamborghini and the second Bentley Continental of Ian Loggie. The GT3 order was rounded out by Ben Green in the Nissan and the Ginetta of Nathan Freke.
In GT4, Martin Plowman led the way at the halfway point of the opening session of the ‘Donington Decider’ weekend in the #53 UltraTek Racing Team RJN Nissan 370Z, ahead of David Pittard in the Lanan Racing Ginetta and the Black Bull Garage 59 McLaren of Andrew Watson.
Heading into the closing stages though, Mike Robinson lowered the benchmark in the PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport to a 1m37.385s, but Alex Reed was able to overcome that in the #51 Ginetta by just 0.062s to claim the honours in FP1.
Dean MacDonald was third quickest in the #59 McLaren whilst Matt Nicoll-Jones was a miniscule 0.005s further back in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin. Mike Simpson was fourth in the #111 Ginetta as the GPRM Toyota GT86 in the hands of Stefan Hodgetts was only a further 0.088s slower in fifth.
The championship leading HHC Motorsport Ginetta of Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha was ninth quickest meanwhile but encouragingly for the duo though, they were less than four tenths of a second shy of Robinson’s time, displaying the ultra-competitive nature of the class.
The day’s second 60-minute practice session gets underway at 12:30.