FP1: Thiim and Zamparelli make the early running at Snetterton
Nicki Thiim gave TF Sport the early bragging rights at Snetterton this morning by topping the weekend’s opening 60-minute practice session, while GT Marques and Dino Zamparelli made the perfect start to their British GT debut by posting fastest GT4 time.
Friday night’s rain ensured a damp start to the session, which initially suited Rob Bell and Balfe Motorsport. However, it was Thiim who ultimately prevailed after twice overhauling the Balfe’s new McLaren 720S GT3.
Surprisingly, given the improving track conditions, the Dane set his and the session’s fastest time – 1m49.475s – just after half-distance before making way for Am co-driver Mark Farmer.
Only Phil Keen came close to beating Thiim after Barwell set its Pro loose with five minutes remaining. His first flying lap was just 0.011s shy of the Aston Martin’s time, while a scruffy final sector put paid to his chances of improving again second time around.
Beechdean AMR’s Marco Sorensen and Barwell’s other Lamborghini driven by Jonny Cocker finished half-a-tenth apart in third and fourth, while Seb Morris, Bell and Jonny Adam completed a top-seven covered by half-a-second.
Elsewhere, Dino Zamparelli and GT Marques hit the ground running by topping the GT4 class on theirs and the new Porsche Cayman’s British GT debut. They, like TF and Thiim, set fastest time at half-distance before Chris Car climbed aboard.
Zamparelli’s 1m58.478s was 0.083s quicker than Team Parker’s Scott Malvern and another 0.039s faster than Matthew George, who moved Invictus Games Racing’s Jaguar into the top-three with five minutes remaining.
George’s improvement came at the expense of Beechdean AMR’s Martin Plowman and Tolman’s #5 McLaren shared by Jordan Collard and Lewis Proctor who were separated by just 0.005s.
Ash Hand jumped up to sixth on his final flying lap while the first of Multimatic’s Mustangs and Tolman’s second McLaren completed a top-eight separated by less the 0.5s.
The day’s second practice session starts at 11:40.