FP1: Keen and Giddings top wet/dry opening practice at Brands

FP1: Keen and Giddings top wet/dry opening practice at Brands

> Result: Free Practice 1

Phil Keen and Michael Igoe got their 2021 campaign off to a flying start by topping the timesheets during a tricky first practice session at Brands Hatch, while Ciceley’s Jake Giddings made an immediate impression on his Intelligent Money British GT Championship return by setting the pace in GT4.

Up front, the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini on top of a tight session, which featured ever changing conditions and fluctuating grip levels.

A damp but drying track greeted the crews when the lights went green to get the 2021 season underway, and all opted to play it safe and start on wet Pirellis. However, as the session progressed times tumbled as the Tarmac began to dry, bringing the slicks into play.

Scott Malvern – ever impressive in mixed conditions – initially topped the order in the new Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R he shares with Nick Jones, before Adam Balon/Sandy Mitchell’s Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán took over.

Then came the switch, with Marcus Clutton putting in an impressive lap as conditions improved to move the new Enduro Motorsport McLaren 720S he shares with Morgan Tillbrook to the top of the times.

It was only in the closing minutes when grip was at its best that the fight for fastest boiled down to a two-car battle between Igoe/Keen and Richard and Sam Neary’s Team Abba Mercedes-AMG.

The Nearys looked to have done enough to sneak top spot, until a final flier from Keen with just a few minutes remaining stole top spot just before a red flag – caused by Balfe’s #90 McLaren – curtailed the running early.

Jonny Adam/Andrew Howard’s Beechdean Aston Martin was third quickest, ahead of Yelmer Buurman/Ian Loggie’s RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG. Leo Machitski/Dennis Lind’s Barwell Lamborghini rounded out the top five.

In GT4, a superb lap from Jake Giddings ensured the Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG snared the fastest time. Giddings and team-mate Dave Whitmore kept their noses clean to record a time three tenths faster than the Century Motorsport BMW M4 of Chris Salkeld/Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke.

The Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang of Matt Cowley/Will Moore had been in the hunt, but that car lost the final quarter of the session as it was returned to the garage to repair some front-end damage. It finished third fastest regardless.

Sennan Fielding and Richard Williams’ Steller Motorsport Audi had featured strongly during the session also, finishing an eventual fourth in the order, just half-a-second down on Ciceley’s Mercedes-AMG.

The new Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56 of Mark Samson/Charlie Robertson showed well on its maiden outing, recording the fifth fastest time.

FP2 gets underway at 12:20 BST.