A wet and very wet Saturday as British GT resumes at Rockingham

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Come rain or shine, the British GT Championship is never a dull place to be at and with todays incessant rainfall, that just adding to the excitement.

Thinking of all the testing, practicing and racing has so far been completed in 2018 by the teams in this championship a large percentage of that has been on a wet track so not many of them have really experienced what the new Pirelli slick tyre can offer - certainly not under full race conditions at least.

This morning's first Free Practice was very wet, with the constant rainfall continually subtracting grip from a circuit already renowned for offering little grip, making the drivers experiment with differing lines just to stay on the track.

Both the TF Sport V12 Vantage GT3's were the leading #TeamAMR cars finishing third and fourth for Mark Farmer/Marco Sorensen and Derek Johnston/Nicki Thiin respectively by the end of FP1 with the Jetstream car finishing the session in P6, Optimum P10 and Beechdean finishing just behind the leading AMR Vantage GT4 in P16 - but it was simple free practice!

Issues arose for Graham Davidson and Maxime Martin in their #47 car after prolonged snaps of understeer/oversteer caused him to brush the outside wall, no obvious damage but the team would need to sit out FP2 replacing the clutch hopefully in time for Qualifying.

Still very wet, FP2 was a much better affair for all of the Aston Martin Racing runners (except the #47 of course) with Optimum's Jonny Adam piling in a quick time to finish top of the pile again (just like at Oulton Park), the two TF Sport cars consistent in P2 and P3 and with the #99 Beechdean AMR up to P6. In GT4 Will Moore/Matt Nichol-Jones' Academy car finished the session P4 in class whilst their younger guns in the #61 car would end fourth from bottom.

This afternoon came the the four qualifying runs for the respective Pro and Am drivers in both GT3 and GT4 classes and with Jon Minshaws Lamborghini again on a charge it looked as though the Am side of the grid would take a familiar path - or at least until Flick Haigh saved her best lap till last!
Taking almost a second off Minshaw, Haigh claimed her second consecutive 'pole' although in this single race event it would be the aggregate time of both drivers that would decide Sundays running order so not quite a prize but still a job well done.

With Adam just missing out on the GT3 fastest lap by about half a second to Phil Keen, the #75 Optimum car will still be starting on the front row but will have the championship leading #33 Lamborghini just ahead - what a drag race into the first hairpin tomorrow will be with the #11 TF Sport car right behind (or infront)!!

The GT4 Qualifying was interrupted with red flags for stranded cars on track, but allowed the #62 Academy car of Moore/Nichol-Jone stop secure P6 in class albeit a whopping 4.5 seconds down to the pole setting McLaren 570S. The other Academy car of Tom Wood and Jan Jonck would continue to struggle, as had been their problem all day finishing their days work in P20.

Tomorrow sees the traditional Sunday morning warm up at 09:30 before the start of the two hour endurance race at 13:10. Again, the race will be streamed live via the SRO's social media channels.

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / Optimum / Beechdean / Academy

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