+ Kirchhoefer and home favourite Ramos combine to top GT3
+ Miller and Hopkins translate practice pace into GT4 pole
+ Qualifying Results
Garage 59 has clinched its second Intelligent Money British GT Championship pole position in as many events thanks to the combined efforts of Miguel Ramos and Marvin Kirchhoefer at Autodromo do Algarve, while R Racing's Josh Miller and Seb Hopkins were both fastest in their respective GT4 sessions en route to class top spot.
Neither Ramos nor Kirchhoefer was quickest on their individual qualifying runs, but the McLaren was still sufficiently rapid to beat the 2 Seas Mercedes-AMGs of James Cottingham and Jonny Adam, and Phil Keen and Ian Loggie, who set Q1's pace.
Things were far simpler in GT4 where Miller and Hopkins – who took it in turns to top GT4's practice sessions earlier in the day – maintained their promise on the way to a commanding class pole position.
They finished a combined 0.7s quicker than Optimum Motorsport's championship leaders Jack Brown and Charles Clark, while Team Parker Racing's Dan Vaughan and Zac Meakin were third on their first outing with a McLaren.
GT3: GARAGE 59 PINCHES POLE IN PORTUGAL
Seldom, if ever, has there been a more competitive British GT qualifying session than GT3 Q1, where just 0.014s covered the top three, and 0.046s the first four.
Cottingham set the pace initially with two fastest times but was then pushed back to second by Matt Topham, who lapped Enduro's new Aston Martin marginally quicker.
That looked to have settled things until Loggie stepped up. The reigning champion was ever present in the top four and saved his best for last to sneak 0.014s ahead of the Vantage. Ramos then reduced the Scot's lead by 0.001s to move Garage 59's 720S firmly into contention.
Q2 was curtailed by a late red flag after Konsta Lappalainen looped 7TSIX's McLaren after it suffered a technical issue, but the times looked unlikely to change anyway after the fastest laps were set early on.
Raffaele Marciello had topped both practice sessions earlier in the day and continued that streak by setting fastest time of all. However, his 1m41.379s was only good enough to move RAM Racing's Mercedes-AMG from 10th to seventh.
Instead, it was the driver that finished fourth quickest of all – Kirchhoefer – that ended up on pole. The German's time was 0.2s down on Marciello's best but, crucially, faster than any of the cars that finished Q1 within half a tenth.
2 Seas' #4 Mercedes-AMG moved up from fourth to second thanks to Adam, whose individual time was 0.3s quicker than Loggie's co-driver Keen could manage. #1 therefore slipped from first to third in the final reckoning.
Sandy Mitchell recorded the second fastest individual lap to move the Barwell Lamborghini he shares with Shaun Balfe up to fourth ahead of Enduro's Aston Martin, which dropped to fifth from third, while Century's BMW in the hands of Darren Leung and Dan Harper completed the top six but was just half-a-tenth down on fourth.
Barwell's other Huracan featuring Mark Sansom and Will Tregurtha took Silver-Am class spoils in 10th overall behind RAM's Mercedes-AMG, Beechdean AMR's Aston Martin and Optimum's McLaren.
GT4: MILLER AND HOPKINS MAINTAIN PERFECT START
Miller and Hopkins doubled up on a glorious day for R Racing, with both drivers topping their respective sessions to secure the team’s first pole position of the season.
Having paced both free practice sessions earlier in the day, all eyes were on the Aston Martin ahead of qualifying, and Miller edged the car ahead before Hopkins hammered its advantage home with a stellar second session.
The biggest rival to R Racing all day had been the DTO Motorsport McLaren Artura, and it looked like being a tight battle throughout when Josh Rowledge put the car top after the initial exchanges, before Brown then moved Optimum’s Artura ahead. But then came Miller with a fine effort that snuck R Racing ahead by just 0.058s in a field where one second covered the top-10.
Hopkins couldn’t afford a mistake heading into the second half, and duly never made one. He blitzed his opening lap to establish the Aston out front before putting the result beyond doubt by lapping over 0.4s faster than anybody else.
Clark built on Brown’s good work from the first session to put Optimum’s entry second, albeit 0.7s down on the runaway Aston.
GT4’s qualifying session also featured impressive performances from Vaughan and Meakin, who qualified a superb third on their first run in a McLaren Artura after starting the season with a Porsche.
DTO’s Rowledge and Aston Millar ended up fourth fastest, one spot ahead of Freddie Tomlinson and Stuart Middleton’s Raceway Motorsport Ginetta. Harry George and Darren Burke rounded out the top six on their first appearance in Enduro Motorsport’s new Mercedes-AMG GT4, while GT4 Pro-Am championship leaders Carl Cavers and Lewis Plato secured the class pole in seventh for Century Motorsport.
British GT’s three-hour race around Portimao, which is live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel, goes green at 12:45 BST on Sunday.