BGTC: Thruxton qualifying summary

Taylor and Sugden share GT poles at Thruxton Nigel Taylor grabbed pole position for round 13 of the British GT Championship as the Balfe Motorsport team made its return to the series at Thruxton in Hampshire. Tim Sugden managed to take pole for...

Taylor and Sugden share GT poles at Thruxton

Nigel Taylor grabbed pole position for round 13 of the British GT Championship as the Balfe Motorsport team made its return to the series at Thruxton in Hampshire. Tim Sugden managed to take pole for round 14 tomorrow, moving Jonathan Cocker one step closer to the N-GT title.

A torrential down-pour just before the start of the first session meant that everyone had to take to the circuit on wets. Taylor followed Nathan Kinch across the line for the first time. His second lap was a full two second clear of the rest of the field and looked like sealing pole from the start of the session.

However, Jonathan Cocker put in a late lap to move the GruppeM Porsche 911 GT3-RSR to the top of the times. Taylor had already responded though, and his next lap clinched the top spot, putting the Mosler MT900R onto pole by just over half a second.

"I'd hardly driven the car in the wet, but it rained in testing here on Friday and it helped to remind me which way the circuit went!" said Taylor. "The car has got great balance in the wet and we're very pleased to come back into the series and be this competitive," he added.

Ricky Cole put in a superb final lap to snatch third place on the grid for the Xero Corvette. His lap put Mike Jordan down to fourth, just ahead of Chris Niarchos' Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari.

Dan Eagling acclimatized well to the Peninsula TVR T400R. The youngster will be driving the car by himself in the two races tomorrow and ended the session seventh overall, just behind the stunning GT Cup Class Lotus Elise of Gavan Kershaw.

Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy will have a mountain to climb tomorrow if they want to keep the pressure on Cocker for the title. The Ferrari 360 struggled in the wet conditions and Kinch will have to start from eighth on the grid tomorrow morning.

The GT Cup Class was dominated by Gavan Kershaw. The Lotus was perfectly suited to the wet weather and he had held onto fourth overall early in the session. Seventh place and the class pole was enough to prove that the Lotus should not be discounted if the weather turns bad tomorrow.

Dominic Lesniewski took second in the Tech 9 Porsche 911 GT3-Cup car. Meanwhile, TVR Tuscan challenge driver David Mason made s great GT debut, putting the Rollcentre Noble M12GTO3R third in the treacherous conditions.

Andrew Kirkaldy started the session as the fastest man on the circuit. However, as the second session began to dry out the GruppeM team made a great call to pit early during the 15-minute session and change to intermediate tyres. The Balfe team responded, calling in Shaun Balfe on the same lap.

Sugden took a couple of laps to get up to speed before demoting Kirkaldy to second place. Balfe left it until his last flying lap to improve his time and put the Ferrari down to third alongside the Corvette of Peter Le Bas.

"I could have gone a bit quicker but the traffic was really bad out there," said Sugden. "Jonathan did a great job in the first session and we thought that intermediates would be the way to go this time. I'm looking forward to race day," he added.

Tim Mullen brought the second Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari across the line to take fifth on the grid just ahead of the Jones brothers Porsche. Dan Eagling could only manage eighth place for race two but managed to stay ahead of the Rollcentre Mosler of Patrick Pearce, who spun earlier in the session.

Martin Short had reason to smile by the end of the session though, as he hauled the Noble onto the cup class pole for the second time this year.

"It was a last lap hurrah," said Short. "It's where this car should be though. It has been quick enough and it is fantastic in the wet. David lost the windscreen wipers at the beginning of the first session which was a bit difficult for him on his debut. The car feels fantastic though so the races should be good," he added.

<pre> British GT Championship -- Round 13 - Thruxton Qualifying Times:

N-GT 1 Balfe/Taylor Mosler MT900R 1m23.522s 2 Sugden/Cocker Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 1m24.065s 3 Cole/Le Bas Corvette C5R 1m24.313s 4 Jordan/Sumpter Porsche 911 GT3-RS 1m24.499s 5 Niarchos/Mullen Ferrari 360 Modena 1m24.919s 6 Eagling TVR T400R 1m25.077s GT Cup 1 Kershaw/Whight Lotus Sport Elise 1m24.965s 2 Lesniewski/Sharpe Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 1m26.940s 3 Mason/Short Noble M12GTO3R 1m28.178s 4 Cole/Wandless Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 1m29.573s 5 Chambers/Caine Porsche 911 GT3-Cup 1m29.656s 6 Beighton/Finnemore Marcos Mantis 1m29.832s

Round 14 -- Thruxton Qualifying Times:

N-GT 1 Sugden/Cocker 1m20.912s 2 Balfe/Taylor 1m21.395s 3 Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 Modena 1m21.527s 4 Cole/Le Bas 1m22.359s 5 Niarchos/Mullen 1m22.362s 6 Jones/Jones Porsche 911 GT3-RS 1m23.542s GT Cup 1 Short/Mason 1m25.953s 2 Cole/Wandless 1m26.150s 3 Lesniewski/Sharpe 1m26.797s 4 Kershaw/Whight 1m27.794s 5 Chambers/Caine 1m27.938s 6 Wilcox/Amorim Ferrari 360 1m28.152s


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series GT
Drivers Nigel Taylor , Martin Short , Shaun Balfe , Patrick Pearce , Tim Sugden , Nathan Kinch , Chris Niarchos , Tim Mullen , Andrew Kirkaldy , Jonathan Cocker , Dan Eagling , Dominic Lesniewski , Gavan Kershaw , Mike Jordan , David Mason