Mitchell blasts Barwell to the front in second Snetterton practice

Mitchell blasts Barwell to the front in second Snetterton practice

+Results: Free Practice 2, Snetterton

Sandy Mitchell emerged on top of a frantic mid-session flurry of lap times on a constantly improving track to give Barwell Motorsport the advantage heading into qualifying at Snetterton.

Mitchell was the seventh, and last, driver to take a turn at the top of the timesheets before a late red flag essentially curtailed the session 10 minutes early, sealing top spot for himself and team-mate Shaun Balfe in their Lamborghini Huracan.

GT4 was less fraught, but a fine late effort from Freddie Tomlinson secured the top time for himself and team-mate Stuart Middleton aboard Raceway’s Ginetta G56. 

The session overall was slower than the morning one, mostly due to a dip in track temperature, so early efforts were quickly eclipsed once things began to improve around midway through.

Marcus Clutton pulled his usual trick of setting a rapid banker lap on just his second tour before handing the Enduro McLaren to new team-mate Matt Topham to gain miles. Clutton’s time stood until Jules Gounon took over the #1 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG and immediately put the car to the top of the pile, only to have his best lap scotched for track limits.

Michael O’Brien’s Orange Racing McLaren then finally displaced Clutton, before continued improvements meant Marvin Kirchhöfer (Garage 59 McLaren), Rob Bell (Optimum McLaren) and Will Tregurtha (Barwell Lamborghini) all took a turn at lowering the benchmark, before Mitchell finally edged ahead before the red flags flew when Team Parker Racing’s Porsche came to a halt after exiting the pits.

With just five minutes left when running resumed, very few cars went for another run. The only notable to venture out was Ross Gunn, who managed to sneak Beechdean AMR’s Aston into second place on the very final lap. Bell and Mark Radcliffe were third for Optimum, ahead of Mark Sansom and Tregurtha. Kirchhöfer and West were fifth, with Mark Smith and Martin Plowman bringing Paddock Motorsport McLaren into the top six.

Notably absent from the top times were both Gounon and Raffaele Marciello. After having his time taken away, Loggie and Gounon’s final attempt at a fastest lap ended when they fitted new tyres right before the red flag, while John Ferguson and Marciello concentrated on longer-run pace on older tyres, as did James Cottingham and Jonny Adam in the championship-leading 2 Seas Mercedes-AMG.

Optimum’s GT4 championship-leading McLaren Artura was a constant either at the top of the times or around them after an early flier by Jack Brown meant the car led much of the session. That was until first Josh Rowledge and then Freddie Tomlinson asserted themselves later on.

Rowledge went top at mid-distance, putting the DTO McLaren firmly back in the mix after its FP1 troubles, before Tomlinson strung a superb lap together to near just over a tenth ahead. Darren Burke made a late run in Enduro’s Artura count by slotting the car into second, just 0.001s ahead of the DTO car.

Lewis Plato and Carl Cavers took fourth and Pro-Am honours in the #22 Century BMW M4, with, Brown and Clark winding up fifth and Matt Cowley/Eric Evans’ Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang rounding out the top six.

Qualifying is up next, scheduled to start at 16:10.