Stage set at Brands Hatch as British GT nears its Championship winning conclusions

Saturday, September 10, 2022


That’s another British GT Championship cliff hanger set up for tomorrows conclusion at Brands Hatch after another morning of Free Practice and then Qualifying punctuated by the first of two, two minutes silence in memory of Her Majesty the Queen.

More overnight rain had left the Grand Prix circuit extremely wet and treacherous with the sky looking as though Mother Nature could turn either way as the near equal split of thirty GT3 and GT4 cars took to the circuit for the first time this morning. 

For many, this was the first time since May that they had tested at the circuit and for Newbridge Motorsport’s Matt Topham, this would also be his first race around the circuit with his Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 having missed that opening round of the season last year but at least it was familiar to him from his Caterham days.

Caution was the name the game during FP1 as the grid waiting for the track to dry out and get rubbered in as Topham would drive the opening siting laps in the session before co-driver Darren Turner would do the set-up work later.

Thirty minutes into that session and the first red flag of the day was called after two Mercedes (a GT3 and GT4) came together with event ending consequences for both and barrier repairs be required to boot leaving just over fifteen minutes remaining after all was sorted by the Orange Army.

At the chequered flag, it was the #42 Stellar Motorsport Audi of GT4 Championship rivals Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding who claimed top spot in class with the #23 R-Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Jamie Day and Josh Miller just pipping the #27 Newbridge car by 0.08 of a second in seventh.

Then the second Free Practice session was equally as eventful as first Topham had a rear puncture at the start of the lap and Day was then involved in an altercation with a Ginetta GT4 at Sheen Curve – something that Topham would get away with in terms of damage sustained but not so for Day as he would be adjudged to have been the guilty party to receive a fine and penalty points upon his licence.

With the track having dried and the sun having warmed the track, the performance of the two Astons came back into play as both beat the #42 Audi this time around to again finish in that order but this time in third and fourth overall in class.

With Qualifying, it was Day and Topham out first – this time with fresh rubber for the first time in the weekend with both pushing hard to beat the personal best. With Day having channelled that ‘red mist’ from his earlier on track and Stewards room encounter – he pumped in a lap time 0.1 of second quicker than anyone else to secure a then provisional pole position whilst Topham also put in the best lap he felt he could to finish nineth overall but first in their Pro-Am Class.

Next up was Turner and Miller but their session was interrupted by another red flag after an off for one of the Century BMW’s, but the young silver driver was fortunate enough to have put in his quickest lap so far immediately before that break in the proceedings.

When things did back to running, there was to be no more improvements as Turner would head the pair by finishing third overall (and behind the #42 Audi again) with Miller in seventh overall.

On the aggregated time basis, that leaves the #23 R-Racing car starting on the front row of the GT4 grid alongside the #42 Audi with the #27 Newbridge car in seventh.

What happens tomorrow however is a completely different kettle of fish for both Aston Martin’s and Audi with all three locked together at the head of the Championship with everything to gain but everything to lose as well with just one more event to go after Brands Hatch.

Game on………….!!


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