British GT: Oulton Park Qualifying Report
Mixed conditions played host to two thrilling qualifying sessions at the season opening round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship. Charles Bateman, qualified on pole position for race one, and Richard Westbrook claimed pole for race two. Jody Fannin and Phil Glew were the qualifying victors for the GT4 class. 2009 Champion David Jones was initially quickest in his Mercedes AMG SLS, before Bateman went fastest. Jones found time and went quicker still and sat atop of the timesheets before 2010 Champion, David Ashburn, came wide out of the final corner, Lodge, drifting his Trackspeed Porsche as he put the power down, and produced a stunning lap of 1:39.236 to go fastest.
Piers and Ron Johnson, back behind the wheel of the Northwich outfit’s Oilfield Production Consultants-backed Corvette Z06R for the first time since last season, both set their quickest times yesterday, Saturday, in qualifying at Oulton Park.
Two, hour-long races follow tomorrow.
Piers clocked a best of 1:38.657 in the second qualifying session – a faster time than he managed last year – to occupy 13th place on the timesheet. Teammate Ron also improved upon his performance 12 months ago, producing a personal best 1:41:639 to earn an eighth row starting position for the first round.
Earlier, he had hit the barriers at Druids in a slippery opening free practice period on a damp track. The duo has been unable to test their 560bhp machine over the winter after a delay getting permission from motorsport’s governing body (the FIA), to fit upgrades to the car.
It means Speedworks will run a 2011 spec version of the car this weekend. At the front, Charles Bateman (United Autosports Audi R8) and Richard Westbrook (Trackspeed Porsche 997) will start from pole position in races one and two respectively.
Monday’s first race starts at 1055, with the second to follow later at 1500.