FP1: Enduro’s McLaren and Toyota Gazoo UK share the early spoils at Donington

FP1: Enduro’s McLaren and Toyota Gazoo UK share the early spoils at Donington

> Tillbrook and Caroline hit the front
> Result: Free Practice 1

Morgan Tillbrook and Marcus Clutton maintained their season-long knack for performing well in practice by topping the timesheets in this morning’s first session at the #DoningtonDecider.

While the Enduro Motorsport McLaren’s early benchmark proved unbeatable overall, a similarly early flier from Jamie Caroline left the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra he shares with John Ferguson 0.5s clear of the other GT4 runners.

When the lights went green for the first session of the weekend, it cued a flurry of strong early laps as many teams sent their pro drivers out first before relaying to their co-drivers.

Clutton did his usual trick of going fastest on his first flier, before being quickly usurped by first RAM Racing’s Yelmer Buurman and then Dennis Lind in the championship-leading #63 Barwell Lamborghini he shares with Leo Machitski.

It didn’t take Clutton long to respond, though, and on lap five he pumped in a 1m26.473s effort to sneak past Lind’s best by just 0.007s.

That was pretty much it for improvements, as the teams then switched to longer race runs. Scott Malvern did vault the Team Parker Racing Porsche he shares with Nick Jones into third place, ahead of Sandy Micthell/Adam Balon’s Barwell Lamborghini.

Mia Flewitt and Euan Hankey were fifth quickest in the Balfe McLaren, ahead of Michael Igoe/Phil Keen’s WPI Lamborghini.

Any chance of late improvements was scuppered when the red flags flew with just two minutes left after an off for the Assetto Motorsport GT4 Ginetta.

Like GT3, the order was settled early in GT4 thanks to a strong opening run from Jamie Caroline aboard the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra.

Caroline needed just two laps to get enough temperature into his Pirellis to dip into the 1m34.4s – sufficient to keep the car out front while allowing co-driver John Ferguson to rack up the bulk of the mileage.

Charlie Robertson ran the Toyota close, putting the Assetto Ginetta he shares with Mark Sansom second in the order, albeit half-a-second shy of Caroline’s effort, before the same car brought the session to an early end.

The guest Century Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage of David Holloway and Bradley Ellis enjoyed a strong start to the weekend by finishing third fastest, ahead of the Steller Motorsport Audi R8 of Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding.

The Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin shared by Pro-Am championship leaders Matt Topham and Darren Turner finished fifth overall, with Jack Brown and Ashley Marshall’s Balfe Motorsport McLaren 570S completing the top six.

Saturday’s second 60-minute free practice session begins at 12:20 local time.