Barwell Motorsport’s Dennis Lind clocked the fastest time of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s trip to Spa so far, as the Lamborghini racer shared practice top spots with Ross Gunn – who powered the Beechdean Aston to first in a soaking wet Free Practice Two.
The weather extremes didn’t hamper Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Scott McKenna, as he powered the team’s Toyota GR Supra to the top of the GT4 category in both sessions.
Free Practice One
Dennis Lind set the pace in a drizzly opening practice, as the Barwell Motorsport racer picked up where he left off in Friday’s test session to comprehensively top the times.
The Lamborghini Huracán was placed more than half-a-second clear of the 11-car GT3 field, with the chasing pack headed by Scott Malvern. The Team Parker Racing driver carried on the same speed he displayed last time out at Donington, placing his Porsche 911 GT3 R just 0.020sec ahead of Sandy Mitchell in the second of the Barwell Huracáns.
Fourth went the way of Sam Neary in the Team Abba Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, he finished just a tenth ahead of Euan Hankey’s Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3 on his first competitive session around the Belgian circuit in a GT3.
The session was entirely without incident for Neary, though, as he had an off at Malmedy and hit the tyre wall. That Mercedes has proved to be a tank however, and Sam is confident the car will be repaired in time for qualifying later.
Yelmer Buurman was the last driver within a second of Lind, he was 0.950sec down in his RAM Racing Mercedes but seven-tenths clear of the Leipert Racing Lamborghini – Fidel Leib and Brendon Leitch making their British GT debut this weekend.
WPI Motorsport took eighth, Michael Igoe setting the fastest time in the fourth of the field’s Lamborghini, while Ross Gunn – returning to Beechdean AMR to replace Jonny Adam – finished ninth and Stewart Proctor rounded out the top ten for Balfe Motorsport.
Scott McKenna left it late, but he put the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra to the top of the GT4 category, half-a-second clear of the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin – a returning Darren Turner leaving it equally late to move the Vantage up to second.
The pair sandwiched the GTC-entered FF Corse Ferrari 488 Challenge of Omar Jackson and Charlie Hollings, the only car in the class for this weekend.
Back in GT4, and it was the big Ford Mustang ran by Academy Motorsport that claimed third as Matt Cowley bested the two Century Motorsport BMWs by 0.054s – Will Burns edging out team-mate Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke by the even narrower margin of 0.014sec to to take fourth.
Notably, FP1 was one car short of a full 22 as Team Rocket RJN has had to withdraw James Kell and Jordan Collard’s McLaren 570S – the former crashing at Blanchimont in Friday testing with the damage proving too great to repair.
The team’s fastest McLaren was sixth in class, Alain Valente been demoted from fifth by Sennan Fielding in the Steller Motorsport Audi.
Free Practice Two
The drizzle that gave FP1 a bit of extra spice, became full-on rain for the second practice session as the field got the opportunity to experience Spa in the wet ahead of what is forecast to potentially be an equally moist qualifying session.
For a time, it appeared Lind was on course for a practice double but just after the halfway mark, Ross Gunn put himself behind the wheel of the Beechdean Aston Martin and scythed his way round the soaked circuit to set the fastest time of the hour – a 2m39.075sec.
In a remarkable piece of coincidence, Yelmer Buurman – an early pace-setter in the in the pink RAM Racing Mercedes – matched the time to the millisecond just before the session’s only red flag was called for.
The session was stopped with seven minutes to go after a nasty crash for Scott Malvern at Raidillon. Replays suggested that the rear of the Team Parker Porsche snapped round on Malvern going through the quick right and he was just a passenger as the car spun rearwards and hit the barriers. There’s now a question mark as to whether the team will be able to get back out for qualifying later on.
Denied the chance to try for a faster time, Lind and team-mate Leo Machitski settled for third, ahead of the recovering WPI Motorsport Lamborghini of Phil Keen – the red Huracán showing better pace in the wet.
Fifth was the Team Parker Porsche, a tenth faster than the Barwell entry of Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon which ended sixth.
Two McLarens took seventh and eighth, with Mia Flewitt and Euan Hankey besting Stewart and Lewis Proctor.
There were two GT3s that failed to make an appearance in FP2, a consequence of crashes in the opening practice – both the Leipert Lamborghini and the Team Abba Mercedes were undergoing repairs, with both teams hoping to be out for quali.
Down in GT4, Toyota topped the session once again as Scott McKenna demonstrated he’s just as comfortable in the soaking wet. He didn’t best the GTC Ferrari, which finished ninth overall, but he did finish 1.6sec faster than Will Burns’ Century BMW.
Century didn’t have as good a session as FP1 though, as Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke was forced to pull the #9 BMW M4 GT4 behind the barriers at Double Gauche with what appeared to be a technical fault. Before then, he was third in class.
Matt Topham took the majority of the wet-weather running in the Newbridge Aston and he finished fourth overall, almost two tenths ahead of the Steller Motorsport Audi shared by Senna Fielding and Richard Williams.
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