Phil Keen set a new qualifying lap record as he and Michael Igoe stormed to pole for the Intelligent Money British GT Championship’s #DoningtonDecider, but championship leaders Leo Machitski and Dennis Lind could only qualify sixth after a trip into the gravel for the Russian.
In GT4, a quickly consistent run put Steller Motorsport onto the top spot thanks to rapid laps from both Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding.
Keen powered the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 to new heights as he set a stunning new lap record – in qualifying at least – as he put in a 1m26.093sec around Donington Park.
Combined with Igoe’s 1m27.715sec in his own session – one of the fastest in the Am portion of qualifying – the pair were untouchable at the top of the order, more than three-tenths clear of the chasing pack behind.
Their nearest competition came from Enduro Motorsport. Rapid in practice, a solid lap from Morgan Tillbrook put the McLaren 720S GT3 in the picture for pole. Despite Marcus Clutton’s best efforts, indeed his best lap was just 0.006sec down on Keen’s, he couldn’t close the gap enough to trouble for the top spot – second still a good opportunity for fun in the race.
The Nearys swept their way into third, both Richard and Sam putting in good laps in the Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to put themselves in third and with a good chance of repeating the first corner heroics which powered them from 10th to 2nd at the start of the earlier race this season at Donington.
Sam’s late flier kept them clear of the newer Mercedes of Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie, the RAM Racing pair quietly putting themselves in a strong position to get at least a podium tomorrow.
Behind them, the third row is packed full of Lamborghinis, with both the Barwell cars residing fifth and sixth. In a session where Machitski found himself in the gravel after overcooking the Fogarty Esses, both cars could only secure themselves a mid-pack finish – Sandy Mitchell and Adam Balon taking fifth ahead of Machitski and Lind. The championship contenders have work to do in the race.
Seventh went to Nick Jones and Scott Malvern in their Team Parker Racing-engineered Porsche 911 GT3 R, while Mia Flewitt and Euan Hankey took eighth on their return to British GT in their Team Rocket RJN McLaren 720S GT3.
Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam could only qualify ninth, while Paddock Motorsport rounded out the top ten in its Bentley.
The secondary class proved rather more open and shut, with Richard Williams striking out early in the Steller Motorsport Audi R8 LMS to pretty comfortably cement their top spot.
More than half-a-second clear of the chasing pack, Williams and Senna Fielding didn’t put a wheel wrong – one of the few cars not to have a lap deleted for track limits – as they saw off the ever-slight challenge of Team Rocket RJN.
Michael Benyahia and Alain Valente put in a shining performance in their McLaren 570S GT4 to take a cracking result after an up-and-down season for the whole squad, proof of the strength of their performance came from the fact that they finished more than a tenth clear of the Academy Motorsport Ford Mustang which has been flying all weekend at the hands of Matt Cowley and Will Moore.
Newly-crowned GT4 champions Will Burns and Gus Burton will start fourth with the duo no doubt hoping to seal their crown with another trophy in their Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 – Burton certainly pushing hard in qualifying to ensure the best starting position as possible.
The fastest of the Pro-Am entries – the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Supra – will line-up fifth on the grid, ahead of its class rival the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin of Matt Topham and Darren Turner. That’s a key result for the championship, with the Pro-Am crown still up for grabs.
Century Motorsport’s second BMW will start seventh, having seen off the early charge of Jordan Collard and James Kell in the second of the Team Rocket RJN McLarens.
Sunday’s #DoningtonDecider will get underway at 1pm UK time (2pm CEST) and is available to watch on GT REPORT.
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