Barwell’s Lamborghini and Steller’s Audi have claimed respective GT3 and GT4 pole positions for Sunday’s Silverstone 500 after Sandy Mitchell and Sennan Fielding set new Intelligent Money British GT Championship lap records in qualifying this afternoon.
The cars they share with Adam Balon and Richard Williams recorded the fastest combined and individual times to end up comfortably clear of their nearest overall and class rivals.
Redline’s Alex Malykhin topped the GT3 Am session to help the Lamborghini he shares with James Dorlin start on the front row and secure Silver-Am pole. They were 0.7s behind Barwell’s similar Huracan and just 0.003s ahead of 2 Seas’ Mercedes-AMG featuring James Cottingham and Lewis Williamson.
GT4 was all about Steller whose Audi topped both sessions. Marco Signoretti and Matt Cowley both set the second fastest times on their respective runs to leave Academy’s Ford Mustang on the front row and ahead of R Racing’s Aston Martin shared by Josh Miller and Jamie Day.
Further back, Pro-Am pole went to Newbridge’s Matt Topham and Darren Turner.
GT3: MITCHELL’S MASTERCLASS BAGS BARWELL POLE
A new qualifying lap record and 0.7s faster than anyone else: today was a good day for Sandy Mitchell whose dominant performance in the Pro session helped Barwell and Adam Balon to claim a comfortable pole position for tomorrow’s three-hour race.
The tight Am segment, in which three tenths covered the first five, suggested top spot would be secured by a fine margin. Indeed, the opening skirmish would have been even closer without Alex Malykhin vaulting Redline’s Lamborghini into provisional P1 at half-time.
His late flyer was 0.137s quicker than Kevin Tse (Sky Tempesta Racing) who’d earlier unseated the similar 2 Seas Motorsport-run Mercedes-AMG driven by James Cottingham.
Balon was just one thousandth further back in fourth but, crucially, a more than manageable 0.165s shy of top spot – nowhere near enough, as it turned out, to deny his fired-up co-driver who’d earlier set a blistering pace in final practice.
But that was nothing compared to the 1m56.765s he unleashed at the start of Q2, which effectively ended qualifying as a contest. The time was four tenths under Phil Keen’s previous qualifying benchmark and 0.7s faster than the session’s next best set by Jonny Adam.
Instead, attention turned to who would join Barwell on the front row, with Williamson needing to beat Dorlin by 0.164s to move 2 Seas ahead of Redline. But the Scot fell a tantalising 0.003s short despite recording Q2’s fourth fastest time.
Sam and Richard Neary set the fifth and sixth best laps in their respective Pro and Am sessions to complete row two and line up ahead of RAM Racing’s Ian Loggie and Callum Macleod.
Optimum’s Nick Moss and Joe Osborne were supremely consistent en route to sixth overall in the best of the McLarens, while Sky Tempesta’s Mercedes-AMG slipped to seventh in the final reckoning. Assetto’s Bentley shared by Mark Sansom and Will Tregurtha completed row four.
Adam’s second fastest time in the Pro session helped 2 Seas’ other Mercedes-AMG qualify ninth despite Flick Haigh’s early Q1 spin. The top-10 was completed by Garage 59’s guesting McLaren, and Jamie Caroline moved RAM’s Mercedes-AMG up to 11th after lapping third quickest of all.
Elsewhere, Team Parker’s Porsche was unable to qualify after suffering a gearbox issue in practice but is expected to race on Sunday.
GT4: WILLIAMS AND FIELDING TOO HOT TO HANDLE
Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding proved their earlier free practice pace was no fluke after each driver topped their respective qualifying segments to seal a dominant pole position for Sunday’s Silverstone 500.
Steller’s Audi is rapidly earning a reputation for its qualifying prowess after grabbing a second pole position in the three rounds held so far, while its Silver Cup crew is yet to line up lower than second this season.
At Silverstone the pairing continued their strong form, with Williams setting the tone by dipping below the existing GT4 qualifying lap record during the opening segment, before Fielding then shattered it to hand the R8 LMS a combined 1.4s margin over anybody else.
The opening session actually looked set to be a tight affair with Josh Miller (R Racing Aston Martin) and Marco Signoretti (Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang) trading the top spot before Williams pumped in a 2m09.7s to strip two tenths off Scott Malvern’s GT4 qualifying record from 2020.
Williams’ effort put the Audi 0.7s clear of Signoretti in second and left Steller’s rivals with a mammoth task to overcome. But any chance of doing so was soon ended by Fielding who lowered GT4’s benchmark again to 2m09.1s.
Matt Cowley built on Signoretti’s strong effort to secure second for the Mustang, just staving off the Miller/Jamie Day Aston Martin. Ross Wylie and Matthew Graham will start fourth, aided by Graham setting the session’s third-fastest lap that elevated Valluga’s Porsche to row two.
Jack Brown and reigning GT4 champion Will Burns will start fifth in the #90 Century Motorsport BMW M4 ahead of Pro-Am class pole-sitters Matt Topham and Darren Turner (Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin).
Tom Rawlings and Chris Salkeld will start seventh in Century’s other BMW, with the Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56 grabbing eighth. That was aided by a fine Q1 performance from Freddie Tomlinson, who got the car as high as fourth in the times before Joe Wheeler backed up the strong run to secure the car’s best starting position of the season so far.
The Silverstone 500 goes green at 11:30 BST tomorrow. Watch it live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel, Sky Sports F1, The Race and Motorsport TV from 11:10.