James Baldwin and Michael O’Brien have claimed Jenson Team Rocket RJN’s second pole position in as many Intelligent Money British GT rounds after beating Barwell Motorsport’s Sandy Mitchell and Rob Collard by just 0.085s at Brands Hatch.
Baldwin, The World’s Fastest Gamer, once again excelled in the first session to give O’Brien a two-tenth head-start he wouldn’t squander. Mitchell came close to toppling the McLaren but had to once again settle for second in a repeat of Donington Park’s front row.
Behind, RAM Racing start third after qualifying quickest of the Pro/Am entries. Yelmer Buurman set fastest time overall to elevate the Mercedes-AMG he shares with Ian Loggie from 10th to third, while Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam complete row two on their British GT return.
In GT4, Connor O’Brien and Patrick Kibble lead a TF Sport front row lockout from team-mates Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughan. The #95 Aston Martin topped both sessions to beat the championship-leading Vantage by 0.7s.
Speedworks’ Toyota shared by James Kell and Sam Smelt lines up third.
GT3: ROCKET AND BARWELL DUKE IT OUT ONCE AGAIN
Two weeks ago Jenson Team Rocket RJN and Barwell Motorsport’s Silver Cup entries went toe-to-toe in qualifying. And it was the same again earlier today when Collard and Mitchell fell just short of Baldwin and O’Brien’s combined efforts.
A suspension issue robbed the #2 McLaren of half its FP2 track time, but that proved no obstacle in Q1 to Baldwin who hit the front early and stayed there by lapping quicker on his second run. 1m24.797s helped the esports convert establish a two-tenths advantage over 2 Seas Motorsport’s Dean Macdonald and Jordan Witt, while Collard was 0.5s down on the ultimate pace in fourth overall.
Lewis Proctor ensured McLaren’s Silver Cup ensemble filled four of the first five places initially by beating best placed Am, Richard Neary (ABBA Racing), and Sam De Haan (RAM Racing).
Of course, Q1’s times tell only half the story. And with the Pros now aboard the second session soon saw plenty of changes.
Nevertheless, it was the consistency of O’Brien and Baldwin that once again prevailed over the sheer pace of the top Pro/Am line-ups and another star turn from Sandy Mitchell who set the fastest individual Silver time.
Indeed, the Scot’s performance was almost sufficient to overturn Jenson Team Rocket RJN’s initial advantage. Ultimately just 0.085s separated the top-two.
Behind, Yelmer Buurman’s 1m23.463s – the day’s fastest time – helped RAM’s #6 Mercedes-AMG vault up the classification and begin tomorrow’s two-hour race as the best placed Pro/Am entry. The Dutchman’s co-driver Ian Loggie starts alongside championship returnee Andrew Howard after Beechdean AMR co-driver Jonny Adam set the third fastest Q2 time.
Consistency also proved crucial to 2 Seas’ Jack Mitchell/Jordan Witt and Angus Fender/Dean Macdonald who share row three, while Franck Perera’s rapid time elevated WPI’s Lamborghini to seventh.
Elsewhere, championship leaders Adam Balon and Phil Keen (Barwell Motorsport) have work to do from 10th, and Steller’s new Audi starts two places further back in 12th.
GT4: O’BRIEN AND KIBBLE LEAD TF SPORT LOCK-OUT
Connor O’Brien and Patrick Kibble stormed to GT4 pole position at Brands Hatch ahead of TF Sport team-mates and championship leaders Jamie Caroline and Dan Vaughan.
James Kell put the Speedworks-run Toyota Supra top of the times early doors but was swiftly displaced by Patrik Matthiesen’s HHC McLaren and then Vaughan’s Aston Martin as the field got themselves up to speed.
But when O’Brien pumped in a 1m32.057s to put himself seven tenths clear of the pack most of the job was done.
Anyone in the Pro session had their work cut out to catch the runaway Vantage, but Caroline gave it a decent shot. His 1m31.786s effort did trim the gap back initially until Kibble restored the advantage with a mighty session best of 1m31.770s to put the contest beyond doubt.
Sam Smelt built on the solid job done by Kell to ensure the Toyota will start tomorrow’s two-hour race from third on the grid, just ahead of Jordan Collard and Matthiesen’s HHC Motorsport McLaren.
Donington Park winners Gus Bowers and Chris Wesemael will start from fifth in their 570S GT4 ahead of the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke and 2018’s returning championship runner-up Ben Green.
Adam Hatfield’s great late effort ensured the second Century BMW he shares with Ben Hurst took seventh sport, ahead of Jordan Albert and Matt Cowley’s Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang.
Euan Hankey and Mia Flewitt completed the order, with the sole Pro/Am pairing aiming for a charge up the order tomorrow aboard their Balfe Motorsport McLaren.
British GT’s two-hour enduro gets underway at 13:00 on Sunday. Watch live coverage across the championship’s social media and SRO’s Youtube channel from 12:30.