DONINGTON FP1: Kujala leads RAM 1-2 as Academy’s Albert bosses GT4

DONINGTON FP1: Kujala leads RAM 1-2 as Academy’s Albert bosses GT4

> Top-10 covered by 0.9s
> Result: FP1

Patrick Kujala beat RAM Racing team-mate Yelmer Buurman to fastest time in first practice at Donington Park this morning, while Academy Motorsport’s Jordan Albert picked up where he left off at Brands Hatch by topping the GT4 class times.

RAM’s Mercedes-AMGs waged a private war for much of the 60-minute session after Buurman demoted early pace-setter Sam Neary (ABBA Racing). The Dutchman went faster again two laps later to lay down a 1m27.510s for the rest to chase.

While Barwell’s championship-leading Lamborghini lapped just 0.002s slower, it was Buurman’s team-mate, Kujala, who responded just before the 30-minute mark. Two fastest times – the second a 1m27.339s – was ultimately enough for the Finn to remain unchallenged thereafter.

Neary Jnr impressed once again en route to third, the previous-spec Mercedes-AMG he shares with father Richard ending up 0.4s down on the Evo versions out front and two tenths faster than Barwell’s second Huracan driven by Phil Keen.

Indeed, all three Lamborghinis featured in the final top-six – WPI’s Marco Mapelli lapping half-a-tenth slower than Keen.

The first of the McLarens was next up in the hands of Optimum Motorsport and Lewis Proctor who improved with three minutes remaining. Team Parker’s Bentley, which won Donington’s second race in mid-August, was just 0.010s behind, while Jenson Team Rocket RJN and 2 Seas Motorsport completed a top-10 covered by just 0.9s.

2 Seas’ second McLaren caused the session’s only red flag when Jack Mitchell stopped at Redgate just after half-distance.

In GT4, there was no stopping Academy Motorsport or Jordan Albert who topped the times by an impressive 0.3s. Brands Hatch’s race winner, who shares the Mustang with Matt Cowley, set three times good enough for top spot during a five-lap spurt in the first 30 minutes.

The Ford’s 1m35.478s was 0.321s faster than Speedworks Motorsport’s Sam Smelt, who also set his fastest time early in the session, while Patrick Kibble’s late improvement cemented TF Sport’s place in third.

Championship leader Chris Wesemael spent much of the session in fourth but was pushed back in the final moments by HHC team-mate Jordan Collard and Balfe’s Euan Hankey.

FP2 begins at 12:20 BST.