> Baldwin and O’Brien on pole for two-hour enduro
> Osborne starts sprint race up front after pacing Q2
> Fastest individual and combined GT4 times for Collard and Matthiesen
> Results: GT3 combined | GT3 Q2 | GT4 combined | GT4 Q2
Jenson Team Rocket RJN’s championship leaders James Baldwin and Michael O’Brien will start Sunday’s first Intelligent Money British GT race from pole position following their combined efforts in qualifying at Donington Park earlier today, while Balfe Motorsport’s Joe Osborne set the ultimate pace to grab Race 2 top spot.
Rob Collard and Sandy Mitchell will join Baldwin and O’Brien on Race 1’s front row tomorrow morning after the latter’s Q2 effort fell less than a tenth shy of Osborne’s time. But Barwell’s #78 Lamborghini was denied two second place starts by Scott Malvern whose late flyer vaulted Team Parker’s Bentley to within 0.031s of Race 2 pole position.
In GT4, HHC Motorsport’s Jordan Collard and Patrik Matthiesen produced the fastest individual and combined times to claim both pole positions ahead of Speedworks Motorsport’s Sam Smelt and James Kell. Academy Motorsport’s Jordan Albert and Matt Cowley start the morning’s two-hour race from third, while Jamie Caroline secured third for TF Sport in Q2.
Baldwin, The World’s Fastest Gamer, shocked the paddock by winning on debut at Oulton Park two weeks ago. And this time the esports graduate repeated the feat over a single lap to lead the provisional classification by a handy 0.5s at the end of GT3’s first 10-minute session. That advantage – the result of the weekend’s fastest time up to that point – proved more than sufficient for O’Brien to maintain top spot after their fastest times were combined at the end of Q2.
Ollie Wilkinson (Optimum Motorsport) recovered from a track limits infringement to set the second fastest time in Q1, while Angus Fender (2 Seas Motorsport) occupied third 0.138s further back.
Fellow Silver Cup entrants Collard, De Haan and Jordan Witt completed a top-six separated by less than one second before Adam Balon and Ian Loggie led the Pro/Am charge.
The combination of Silver Cup’s additional ballast and factory driver opposition meant a repeat result looked unlikely in Q2, and so it largely proved.
Osborne’s best of 1m26.584s ultimately fell less than a tenth shy of Phil Keen’s GT3 qualifying record from 12 months ago, but was still – just – sufficient to beat Malvern to Race 2 pole.
Mitchell set the day’s third fastest time to elevate Barwell’s #78 Huracan from fourth to second on the endurance race grid, while team-mate Phil Keen joins the Scot on row two for Sunday afternoon’s one-hour sprint.
Consistency proved crucial to De Haan and Kujala’s qualifying result, which sees RAM Racing’s #69 Mercedes-AMG line up third in Race 1. 2 Seas’ McLarens start right behind in fourth and fifth, with Keen and Balon the best of the Pro/Am crews in sixth.
RAM’s Mercedes-AMGs occupy Race 2’s second row thanks to the individual Q2 efforts of Yelmer Buurman and Kujala.
Free practice results suggested qualifying would be a straight fight between Speedworks’ Toyota Supra and TF Sport’s Aston Martin. But HHC’s championship leaders had other ideas…
Patrick Kibble led Q1’s classification by just 0.046s from Matthiesen who slotted his McLaren in ahead of James Kell. Academy’s Mustang driven by Matt Cowley was only 0.2s shy of the initial pace while TF Sport’s second Aston Martin completed the early top-five.
But that all switched around in the second 10-minute session thanks to improvements up and down the field.
Indeed, Collard’s 1m35.020s – the day’s fastest GT4 time – was 0.9s quicker than Connor O’Brien whose initial slender advantage over the chasing pack was quickly overturned.
Smelt’s Toyota, which lapped 0.2s shy of Collard, also benefitted and will start both races alongside the McLaren, while Jordan Albert and Cowley combined to give Academy third in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2.
The opposite goes for TF Sport’s #97 entry, which lines up fourth and third, respectively, while the team’s erstwhile provisional pole-sitting entry slipped to fifth in the combined classification.
Balfe Motorsport’s McLaren shared by Mia Flewitt and Euan Hankey starts Race 2 from fifth.
British GT’s two-hour endurance race begins at 11:05 tomorrow before the 60-minute sprint gets underway at 16:30. Watch both live across the championship’s website and social media, as well as SRO’s Youtube and Twitch accounts.
Click to watch the qualifying report below: