FP2: Rocket takes off to lead the pack in second Brands Hatch free practice

FP2: Rocket takes off to lead the pack in second Brands Hatch free practice

> Result: Free Practice 2

Team Rocket RJN’s McLaren 720S GT3 emerged ahead of a tight fight for top spot during second free practice at Brands Hatch, with James Kell’s best effort putting he and team-mate Simon Watts on top ahead of qualifying this afternoon. Having been denied in the first session, Academy Motorsport’s Matt Cowley and Marco Signoretti stamped their authority on GT4, putting their Mustang beyond reach of their rivals.

Kell hit the front with a third of the session remaining, his best effort being enough to stave off a flurry of late efforts to dislodge the #2 McLaren from the top.

Sam Neary led the way early doors in the Team Abba Racing Mercedes-AMG before Scott Malvern took a turn at the top in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R he shares with Nick Jones. Championship leader Ian Loggie brought the #6 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG up to second by half-distance but Malvern’s benchmark initially looked safe.

Then came Kell, who took advantage of a clear track to pump in a 1m24.0s lap to zoom Rocket RJN to the head of the field. A small queue formed to displace him when the pro drivers went out for one final effort late on, but Lewis Williamson could only get within 0.212s in the 2 Seas Motorsport Mercedes-AMG he shares with James Cottingham. Sam Neary re-established his and father Richard’s Abba Mercedes-AMG into third, as Sandy Mitchell/Adam Balon’s Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini grabbed fourth.

Euan Hankey/Mia Flewitt were fifth for the 7T6 McLaren team, ahead of Malvern/Jones’ Porsche. James Dorlin/Alex Malykhin were the fastest Silver-Am crew in eighth aboard the Redline Racing Lamborghini Huracan.

It didn’t take Academy Motorsport long to establish itself at the head of the GT4 order, with Matt Cowley and Marco Signoretti taking control of the class before the midway point.

Cowley’s 1m31.8s best would never be bettered, even if a few came close. A late run from Benji Hetherington/Mark Radcliffe’s Valluga Racing Porsche 718 Cayman netted them second place, just 0.180s adrift of the Mustang. That was also good enough to make them the quickest Pro-Am crew.

Jamie Day and Josh Miller were third-fastest in the R Racing Aston Martin, having led the way early on. Darren Turner and Matt Topham’s Newbridge Motorsport Vantage was fourth ahead of Freddie Tomlinson/Joe Wheeler’s Assetto Motorsport Ginetta G56. Seb Hopkins and Jamie Orton rounded out the top six in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 718 Cayman.