Donington: TMC/Veloqx Motorsports qualifying report

Team Maranello Concessionaires' two Ferrari 360N/GT race cars claimed pole position (car 89) and fourth place (car 88) in class on the grid during qualifying for round five of the FIA GT Championship at Donington Park today. Kelvin Burt, driving...

Team Maranello Concessionaires' two Ferrari 360N/GT race cars claimed pole position (car 89) and fourth place (car 88) in class on the grid during qualifying for round five of the FIA GT Championship at Donington Park today. Kelvin Burt, driving car 89, set the quickest time of the pair in 1.33.558, three tenths of a second ahead of the second place Porsche of Stephane Ortelli. Jamie Davies, driving car 88, was frustrated by handling difficulties during the first qualifying session this morning but managed to improve his time during the afternoon by four tenths of a second (best time of 1.34.512). This resulted in a jump from provisional eighth to fourth place on the grid for the start of tomorrow's race.

The third car entered for Donington Park by the Brackley-based TMC/Veloqx Motorsport operation secured an excellent sixth place in class. Driven by 2002 Veloqx driver and 1997 BRDC 'Young Driver of the Year,' Andrew Kirkaldy, and by recent Le Mans winner Guy Smith, car number 80 established itself on the grid ahead of some of the more experienced Porsche and Ferrari competition. This achievement is all the more remarkable given the fact that the two young drivers, due to recent commitments, have spent just two days testing their Ferrari 360 N/GT race car (at Snetterton last week) before traveling to Donington this weekend.

TMC enter round five leading the Team Championship with 33 points. Jamie Davies and Tim Mullen lie second in the Drivers' Championship in car number 88 with 26 points each, just three points behind the leaders. Car 89's Kelvin Burt and Darren Turner are in joint eighth position.

Kelvin Burt: "Honestly, I'm pleasantly surprised. Knowing the Ferrari 360 so well now, and having raced at Donington extensively over the years, you know a good lap from a not so good one and I felt that I could have improved my time by a few tenths here and there. Therefore, I was really pleased when I saw my time and must say it feels great, as always, to be on pole. Darren (Turner) and I have led from the front in every race so far and simply been thwarted by bad luck in one form or another. Maybe Donington will be the turning point for us.

Jamie Davies: "Whilst I'm content with fourth place on the grid, I've had a really frustrating day today. We were troubled by some handling quirks this morning which left me in eighth position and so the pressure was on to claw back some time this afternoon. The team identified the reasons for our difficulties but their efforts left me with a matter of minutes remaining in the second session to go out and perform. Anyhow, we made up the time and know that we would have liked to have done some more work during the second session so I'm not so concerned at the end of the day. We will refine our set-up during tomorrow's warm-up and be fighting fit for the race."

Andrew Kirkaldy: "It feels great to be back at Donington again. This circuit holds good memories for the Veloqx team and I as we secured pole position in qualifying ahead of 'Superpole' during last year's FIA GT race when we were here as 'guests.' I don't believe that Guy (Smith) and I got the best out of the car in qualifying today but I know that we now have an exceptionally good car for the race. Therefore, P6 is a satisfying start to the weekend.

"This is home territory for the team," commented Rod Benoist, TMC's Team Manager. "The circuit is well known to all of us and we have some fond memories of Donington Park. Jamie Davies secured Veloqx Motorsport's British GT win here last year. However, despite feeling comfortable, we can never be complacent. We continue to have a handful of problems with our gearboxes which are keeping the engineers and mechanics very busy. Despite our experience here, the one thing we cannot and will not do is relax."

-tmc-

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Guy Smith , Darren Turner , Jamie Davies , Stéphane Ortelli , Kelvin Burt , Tim Mullen , Andrew Kirkaldy