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British GT3: Wilkinson and Ellis tame classic Spa conditions

British GT3: Wilkinson and Ellis tame classic Spa conditions

20.07.2019: A torrential downpour 30 minutes before qualifying ensured both GT3 sessions were held in fully wet conditions. And the Silver/Silver crews duly took advantage by snaring first and th

A torrential downpour 30 minutes before qualifying ensured both GT3 sessions were held in fully wet conditions. And the Silver/Silver crews duly took advantage by snaring first and third in British GT’s predominantly Pro/Am senior class.



Ollie Wilkinson and Ryan Ratcliffe thus went toe-to-toe initially in the worst of the day’s conditions after Team ABBA’s Richard Neary set the early pace. The Optimum Aston lead comfortably as the drivers began their final flying laps but was pushed down to second when Ratcliffe crossed the line. Wilkinson wasn’t finished, though, and improved again to send his co-driver, Bradley Ellis, into the second session with a 0.4s headstart.



JRM’s Rick Parfitt Jnr also posted his best time on the final lap to end Q1 as the fastest Am driver, albeit 2.6s shy of Ellis, while Ian Loggie (RAM Racing), Dominic Paul (Century Motorsport) and Neary completed the initial top-six.
The Pros would therefore face an uphill struggle to bridge Optimum’s early lead. And Ellis ensured they didn’t stand a chance by comfortably maintaining the gap back to his pursuers.



Few would have picked WPI Motorsport to start alongside Wilkinson/Ellis after Michael Igoe ended the first session in 11th. But Dennis Lind had other ideas, and when the Dane lapped 0.3s faster than anyone else, the team’s Lamborghini suddenly found itself on the front row. Indeed, he and Nicki Thiim – who’d earlier topped both dry practice sessions – were the only drivers to dip below 2m40s.



That relegated Team Parker’s Ratcliffe and Glynn Geddie to a second row also featuring RAM Racing’s Callum Macleod and Loggie. Phil Keen’s early flyer suggested Barwell’s Lamborghini might have finished higher than fifth in the combined times, while Adam Christodoulou maintained Team ABBA’s sixth place.



Their positions all came at the expense of JRM, whose Bentley slipped to eighth, one place behind championship contenders Sam De Haan and Jonny Cocker. The best of Century’s BMWs – shared by Ben Green and Paul – qualified ninth.



After two positive practice sessions, neither TF Sport Aston Martin had the collective pace to challenge for pole, despite another fast time from Thiim. Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam, who must also serve a 20s Pitstop Success Penalty for winning at Donington, have work to do from 10th, while team-mates Mark Farmer and Thiim start 12th.

 

 

- Benajamin Franassovici, photo SRO

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/british-gt3-wilkinson-eliis-spa-conditions-qualifying---194449.html

20.07.2019 / MaP

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