Donington FP2: Buurman beats Malvern to GT3 top-spot as Speedworks’ Smelt turns the screw

Donington FP2: Buurman beats Malvern to GT3 top-spot as Speedworks’ Smelt turns the screw

> Result: FP2

RAM Racing’s Yelmer Buurman denied Scott Malvern fastest time at Donington during an entertaining second free practice session that also saw Speedworks’ Sam Smelt continue his fine GT4 form.

RAM Racing’s #6 Mercedes-AMG looked on course to secure top spot after Buurman posted three consecutive fastest times during his initial run. However, the Dutchman was forced to return to the fray after co-driver Ian Loggie had turned his laps thanks Malvern’s banzai effort aboard Team Parker’s Bentley.

Buurman’s subsequent 1m27.325s was just 0.05s faster than the Continental GT3’s best, although Malvern will be buoyed by setting two more purple sectors during a follow-up lap that was ultimately abandoned due to a wild moment exiting the Foggy Esses.

The session remained green for the final 45 minutes following an early red flag period to retrieve Dean Macdonald’s stranded 2 Seas McLaren from the Foggy Esses gravel trap.

A flurry of activity followed the session’s resumption with Sam Neary, Rob Collard and Sam De Haan all vaulting into the top-three before Malvern – initially delayed by an electrical issue – joined the fray.

Barwell’s #78 Lamborghini shared by Collard and Sandy Mitchell ultimately finished almost four tenths down on Buurman’s best but 0.2s ahead of FP1 pace-setter Joe Osborne who was the fastest McLaren driver in fourth.

2 Seas Motorsport’s #10 720S of Jordan Witt and Jack Mitchell was a shade slower in fifth while Andrea Caldarelli continued to re-acclimatise himself with Donington by setting the sixth fastest time for WPI Motorsport.

Elsewhere, championship leaders Michael O’Brien and James Baldwin (Jenson Team Rocket RJN) were last of the GT3 runners in 13th but produced enough sporadically quick sectors to suggest there’s more to come in qualifying.

It was as you were in GT4 where Sam Smelt and Speedworks Motorsport backed up their FP1 performance with a second fastest time of the weekend thus far. The Toyota Supra Smelt shares with James Kell lapped in 1m36.099s to finally dislodge early leader Euan Hankey (Balfe Motorsport) after 30 minutes.

TF Sport’s #95 Aston Martin featuring Patrick Kibble and Connor O’Brien finished just 0.031s behind, while Century’s BMW of Ben Hurst and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke also finished within a tenth of the Toyota.

Hankey’s time remained best of the McLaren contingent in fourth after both HHC entries propped up the timesheets.

Follow qualifying live on from 16:00 BST.