GT3 Qualifying At Donington Park

Photo Credit: GT3 Championship

4 October 2020

Victory at Donington ensures Patrick Kujala and Sam De Haan must serve the maximum Pitstop Success Penalty. But the latter went some way to easing the burden by claiming pole position for the first 60-minute race.

RAM Racing’s championship-leading Mercedes-AMG set a best of 2m06.441s on its final run to ultimately beat Rob Collard by 0.182s. Barwell’s #78 Lamborghini, which lies nine points behind in the title fight, held provisional pole for a time after toppling early pace setter Ian Loggie but couldn’t match either of De Haan’s two session-topping laps.

2 Seas Motorsport’s McLarens share row two thanks to late improvements from Jordan Witt and Dean Macdonald, which relegated RAM’s second Mercedes-AMG to fifth. Nevertheless, Loggie still qualified fastest of the Pro/Am entries and three places clear of his nearest class rival, Michael Igoe.

Lewis Proctor (Optimum) and James Baldwin (Jenson Team Rocket RJN) start sixth and seventh, the latter unable to extend his impressive run of three successive fastest Q1 times, while Barwell’s Adam Balon lines up behind WPI’s Igoe. Duncan Cameron’s AF Corse Ferrari completed Q1’s top-10.

The wet but steadily improving track conditions meant lap times reduced by two seconds in Q2. But on an afternoon tailor made for Snetterton specialist Phil Keen it was team-mate Sandy Mitchell who set a blistering pace to grab pole position.

RAM’s Yelmer Buurman initially led from Keen before the Huracan driver hit his stride on the second round of flying laps to turn a 0.090s deficit into a 0.015s advantage.

Meanwhile, a loose driver safety net was threatening to derail Mitchell’s challenge before it began. But there was no stopping the Black Bull-backed Lamborghini after a quick pitstop helped fully restore visibility. Indeed, the Scot immediately took provisional pole on his first flyer before overturning Keen’s subsequent improvement with arguably the lap of the season. Three purple sectors accounted for a 2m04.303s – an incredible 0.543s quicker than his team-mate who completed an all-Barwell front row.

WPI’s Andrea Caldarelli underlined the Lamborghini’s wet weather prowess by joining Buurman on row two, while Kujala starts two places behind his RAM Racing team-mate in fifth.

Balfe’s McLaren lines up sixth courtesy of Joe Osborne who beat Sam Neary by 0.3s. However, ABBA’s Mercedes-AMG will start Race 2 from the tail of the GT3 pack tomorrow after suspension failure prevented the completion of two flying laps, as mandated in the regulations.

Instead, Matt Griffin’s AF Corse Ferrari heads up row four alongside Optimum’s Ollie Wilkinson, while 2 Seas’ McLarens once again start line astern in the hands of Angus Fender and Jack Mitchell.