Spa brings its customary drama for British GT

Friday, July 08, 2016

We all know that the circuit at Spa Francorchamps can be extremely challenging and with that combined with the tracks own micro-climate and an extended grid, drama was always going to be on the cards for todays Free Practice and qualifying for Round 6 of the British GT Championship.

With the organisers parallel series, the European GT4 Series again joining the British GT field the grid had swollen to a colossal 61 cars so it was sort of unsurprising that both the Free Practice sessions were interrupted with various track incidents and accidents.

Indeed during FP1 the session had only just been restarted from an earlier red flag when one of the European GT4 entries blew an engine going into Les Combes depositing enough oil on track to catch out an unwary Derek Johnston in his #17 TF Sport Vantage as well as the #24 Bentley. Haevy contact with the armco was the result and damage was significant to both cars - drivers were OK but unfortunately for the Bentley that was it for the weekend.

With TF Sport feverishly working away to replace the front end of the Aston the teams sister #11 car driven by Jon Barnes and Mark farmer claimed top honours with a time 1.5 seconds quicker than those chasing.

Fortunately, by the time the delayed four session qualifying format eventually started TF Sport had completed the required repairs that would at least allow the championship leaders to participate and with GT3 Ams out first their handiwork would be immediately put to the test. Early showings were from Andrew Howard in the Beechdean GT3 who placed his car in Prov P2 before Mark Farmer suit with a P3.

With the GT3 Pro drivers the Beechdean and TF Sport drivers certainly followed their Am counterparts with Jon Barnes claiming P2 from Ross Gunn in the early stages of the session but it would still be an aggregate time that would count towards the grid.

By the time GT4 Ams got to go out parts of the circuit were experiencing the first rain of the day and it was enough to effect the mindset of the drivers. MacMillan Racing's Matty Graham was the pick of the AMR bunch in these early stages battling for the provisional class pole with Graham Johnson's Ginetta before a late flurry saw him drop down the order.

By the time the aggregated times had been calculated (after a significant time delay) the #11 TF Sport of Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer would be the highest placed AMR in P3 for TOMORROW's race. Howard and Gunn would be a couple of rows behind in P6 whilst the recovering #17 TF Sport car of Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston will start a magnificent P7.

In GT4 the highest placed BGT car will be the MacMillan Racing car of Matty Graham and Jack Mitchell who will start P15 in class but P6 out of the BGT runners. Full qualifying positions can be found here -

Don't forget that the two hour race shall start tomorrow at 12:35hrs local.

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey
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