Paddock Motorsport claimed its first Intelligent Money British GT Championship pole position with a great lap from Kelvin Fletcher, while Scott Malvern scooped the top spot for race two by just 0.005sec.
In GT4, Newbridge Motorsport dominated both sessions to ensure Matt Topham and Darren Turner will be starting both races right from the sharp-end.
Qualifying for Race One
Kelvin Fletcher powered the big Bentley to pole in some style as the Continental looked like the picture of grace and control around the hilly and twisty Oulton circuit.
His first effort put him up to third, and then every lap after was a significant improvement as Fletcher powered his way up the order, in a thrilling battle with both Kevin Tse and Morgan Tillbrook, the trio rotating through the top spot in quick succession – the track rapidly improving during the session.
However, it was Fletcher who was ultimately the class of the field as he put in a storming effort of 1m35.768sec to go 0.341sec quicker than Tse – who himself put in an absolutely cracking effort considering his limited experience racing around Oulton Park.
Tillbrook secured third in a session where the Enduro Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 was equally on the pace – a follow on from the rapid speed they showed in practice.
Fourth went to Andrew Howard, but it was little reward for what ended up being a session-ending crash for him at the Shell Oils Hairpin after appearing to hit the barriers on the lefthand-side on the entrance to the corner. That led to a red flag, and an Aston Martin that had substantial front-end damage – ranging from the engine to the suspension and obviously bodywork too.
Michael Igoe took fifth in the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3, 0.025sec ahead of Richard Neary in the Team Abba Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Getting back out after their various issues in practice, Leo Machitski just edging out Adam Balon to take seventh in the Barwell Motorsport Huracán.
Championship contender Ian Loggie ended the session 9th in the second of the RAM Racing Mercedes, with Nick Jones and Stewart Proctor rounding out the GT3 field.
GT4 proved to be a lot more open-and-shut, as Matt Topham set the pace in his Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin, being the only driver to drop beneath the 1m44s with a 1m43.846.
Championship leader Will Burns put his Century Motorsport BMW in a great position to seal the title this weekend with a start on the front-row for the opening race.
He did leave it late though, as Will Moore was sitting on the front-row for a lot of the session in his Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang before losing a place right at the end. He’ll be on the second-row alongside Richard Williams in the repaired Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS.
Behind, it was a solid run for Team Rocket RJN as Michael Benyahia and Harry Hayek both put the pressure on for third and fourth in what was quite a tight session if you ignore Topham’s monster of a lap. The two McLaren 570Ss will start in fifth and sixth.
It was another McLaren that caused the second red flag of qualifying as Nick Halstead went front-in into the barriers at the Brittens Chicane.
Notable in seventh, Chris Salkeld couldn’t break any higher in the second of the Century BMWs, giving his and Andrew Gordon-Colebrooke’s championship challenge a minor setback.
Qualifying for Race Two
In what turned out to be an extremely tight session, Scott Malvern prevailed in the Team Parker Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R with a lap that proved to be just enough to squeeze Dennis Lind onto the outside of the front-row by just 0.005sec.
At the start of the session, it was Lind who set the pace in the Barwell Lamborghini before Malvern put in a 1m33.924sec to go up the top.
It looked for a time like the lap wouldn’t quite be enough as Lind’s team-mate Sandy Mitchell claimed provisional pole by an even tighter 0.004sec but his lap was then deleted for track limits infringements.
He had time to put in another quick lap, which put him in third, but the reigning champion couldn’t quite find that tenth he needed to snatch back the top spot – indeed he ended the session just 0.087sec slower than Malvern.
Tightness was the theme of the session really, as Yelmer Buurman will start the second race in fourth – only 0.001sec slower than Mitchell.
Marcus Clutton continued the strong run for Enduro by coming in fifth in the McLaren 720S GT3, with Martin Plowman joining him on the third row in the Paddock Bentley.
WPI Motorsport will start the second race in eighth after struggling somewhat with Phil Keen behind the wheel, they were pushed down a spot near the end by RAM Racing’s Tom Onslow-Cole.
Lewis Proctor took ninth for Balfe Motorsport while Sam Neary surprisingly rounded out the GT3 field.
Darren Turner proved Topham’s first session result was no fluke as he similarly dominated qualifying for GT4, setting the fastest lap in the session on just his second lap behind the wheel of the Newbridge Motorsport Aston. Indeed, such was his confidence that he had wrung every second out of his Aston, that he pitted with a couple of minutes remaining.
He had competition from both Jamie Caroline in the Toyota Supra, and Assetto Motorsport’s Charlie Robertson, and indeed the pair did cut into Turner’s initial advantage but couldn’t close the gap to seriously threaten for the top.
Caroline will start on the front-row, 0.226sec down in the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK entry. He relegated Robertson to third in the Ginetta G56, the Scot 0.132sec slower than the Supra.
Sennan Fielding took fourth for Steller, almost half-a-second off the pace of the top three, but faster than Gus Burton in the BMW M4 GT4.
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