Donington Park pole-sitter Yelmer Buurman praised the hard work of his RAM Racing team, as the squad secured its first Intelligent Money British GT Championship pole of the season.
Racing alongside Ian Loggie, Buurman dealt with his first two laps getting deleted for track limits at the Old Hairpin to see his third lap put the vibrant pink Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the top of the times in what was a hard-fought qualifying – the top four separated by less than 0.2 seconds.
Buurman told GT REPORT: “Ian did a mega job. From Thursday onwards, he’s been really, really strong and really good. We’ve managed to do some things with the car, the team did a great job – they really put a strong race car together which also performs well in qualifying. We’re pretty happy with that.”
Despite having two laps deleted – and taking the best out of the fresh Pirelli rubber – Buurman put in a lap good enough to pip Michael Igoe and Phil Keen’s WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán, despite the team on the pit wall starting to get nervous.
“For me, seeing Ian put in the quickest time in his session was great, and then it was up to me. I think my first lap was clear but on the second lap I pushed a bit extra to get some more time and I went a bit wide in turn four and right as I came back on track I had the team tell me I had track limits in the first lap. I’ll have to see the video to believe it!” He explained.
“But that meant we had two laps with no lap time, and the pressure was on and the boys on the pit wall were getting nervous because obviously the peak of the tyre had pretty much disappeared. I managed to get a good lap out still, which was good enough for pole.”
Even with the close times in qualifying, Loggie is confident that the team’s work to set up the Mercedes for the Donington track will pay dividends during the race, with the Scot pointing out the difference in lap times during the two Saturday morning practice sessions as a key opportunity for the pair.
He added: “I think what we’ve got is a great race car and I think we’ve seen since Thursday testing, and then FP1 and FP2, that we’re extremely consistent in times. Okay, there was only a couple of tenths difference in qualifying but we’ve seen four and five tenths in it every lap during the practice sessions so hopefully I can pull out a bit of a lead.”
One slight negative for the pair is the ten-second success penalty they’ll have in the pits for their podium triumph last time out at Silverstone, but Loggie has said his main priority is banking strong points for the drivers’ championship.
“We’ve got a ten-second penalty, so it’s going to be pretty difficult to win tomorrow but it’s not impossible. This is about nine races, this is about winning the championship, and I wouldn’t be too bothered if I never won a race as long as I won that championship and that’s what we’re focussing on. Don’t make mistakes, get through the races, get the points every round,” he said.
“We’re in a good position at the moment, we’re sitting fourth with a fourth at Brands and a third at Silverstone. A podium here would be very, very nice to take to Spa. We will one hundred percent be strong at Spa so we’ll be in the mix there also.
“For me, it couldn’t look any better right now.”
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