A stellar final effort from Sandy Mitchell gave Barwell Motorsport the top time in the dying moments of the second practice session at Donington, denying Scott Malvern and Team Parker Racing what seemed to be a session-best time on his final lap. Just over a tenth separated a top four featuring as many different manufacturers, suggesting a keenly contested qualifying session lies in store later this afternoon.
Things were almost as tight in GT4 until a stunning final flier from Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Scott McKenna denied Team Rocket RJN a McLaren one-two.
The closing stages of the session featured a raft of late improvements, as teams installed their pro drivers and went for a series of late runs in an effort to snatch the initiative heading into qualifying. And nobody did a better job than Mitchell.
The Enduro Motorsport McLaren led for much of the session thanks to Marcus Clutton shaving a few tenths of his best time from the first session before again handing across to Morgan Tillbrook to conduct most of the running.
A red flag period, caused when Sam Neary’s ABBA Mercedes-AMG ground to a halt after a technical failure, gave everybody a chance to reset heading into the closing quarter of the session, and that’s when the action began in earnest.
First to topple Clutton was Yelmer Buurman in RAM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG, which shaved half-a-tenth off the benchmark. But that wasn’t to last as Clutton went back out and leapfrogged ahead once more with just a few minutes left. Then it was Scott Malvern’s turn, producing a superb lap to vault Team Parker’s Porsche to the top by just 0.006s.
Things looked done and dusted from then, but nobody told Mitchell, who narrowly missed top spot on his first late flier before going 0.019s faster than Malvern on his final attempt to snatch the place.
Overall, just 0.126s split Mitchell, Malvern, Clutton and Buurman, as Lamborghini led Porsche, McLaren and Mercedes-AMG.
Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam were fifth fastest in their Beechdean Aston Martin, with Michal Igoe/Phil Keen rounding out the top six in the WPI Lamborghini.
It was so nearly a dream session for the Team Rocket RJN McLaren squad, which was only denied an ultra-close one-two finish by a stunning late effort from Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Scott McKenna.
Darren Burke set the early pace aboard the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin, until he was usurped by a great effort from RJN’s Katie Milner in the #4 McLaren she shares with Harry Hayek. But that time only held top spot for a few laps before Michael Benyahia snuck ahead by just 0.009s.
Once again, the order looked set heading into the final moments, until McKenna set a string of personal best times to knock a full half-second out of the opposition.
Andrew Gordon-Colebrook/Chris Salkeld’s Century BMW was fourth fastest, just ahead of Matt Topham/Burke’s Newbridge Aston, and Nick Halstead/Jamie Stanley’s Fox Motorsport McLaren.
The four-part qualifying session begins at 16:00 BST.