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GT3: Barwell Lamborghinis annex front row before Morris pips Bell in Oulton Pro Qualifying

28 May 2016

Jon Minshaw secured a first British GT pole position for the Lamborghini Huracan after Barwell Motorsport dominated the GT3 Am qualifying session at Oulton Park before Seb Morris notched up his second pole of the season for Team Parker Racing.


Minshaw was at the sharp end throughout his session after setting the second fastest time on his first run before immediately improving to jump to the top. His 1m35.579s lap would remain the benchmark thereafter as others repeatedly tried and failed to better his time.


Team-mate Liam Griffin came closest but ultimately had to settle for second with a lap just 0.039s shy of pole. But crucially he, unlike Minshaw, has no pit-stop success penalty to serve during Monday’s first hour-long race.


Rick Parfitt Jnr was only a tenth further back after a last gasp effort leapfrogged the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 ahead of Derek Johnston’s championship-leading TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage, which had led the early exchanges.


Alasdair McCaig was another to improve second time around aboard the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S GT3 en route to fifth. Reigning champion Andrew Howard was next up in the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin, while Will Moore saved his best until last to move the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS up to seventh. Mark Farmer completed the top-eight for TF Sport.


Richard Neary set the 11th fastest time but starts last of the GT3 runners after failing to set his mandatory second flying lap.


The GT3 Pro session also featured a late change when Morris improved to secure his second pole of the season for Team Parker Racing. So competitive was the class that only 0.7s covered a top-eight comprising four different manufacturers.


Rob Bell’s Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren led after the first round of flying laps but couldn’t improve thereafter. That left the door ajar for Morris who had been second but grabbed pole by just 0.031s on his second run.


A late effort from Phil Keen helped the Am pole-winning Lamborghini secure third on the grid for Monday’s second race after narrowly beating Ross Gunn’s Beechdean AMR Aston Martin by just 0.014s. Jonny Adam, who immediately dashed to the airport for his Nurburgring 24 Hours transfer, was less than half a tenth further back in the TF Sport V12 Vantage.


Griffin’s co-driver Adam Carroll had been right behind Morris after the opening skirmish before having his fastest lap removed for not respecting track limits. He starts the second race from sixth ahead of PFL Motorsport’s Jody Fannin and Jon Barnes in the second TF Sport Aston Martin.


Mike Simpson’s Tolman Motorsport Ginetta is ninth ahead of Joe Osborne in the AmDTuning.com BMW Z4.


Seb Morris, Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3: “We didn’t quite get the tyres up to temperature so I actually think there’s a bit more pace in the car. I’m looking forward to taking my first ever start in the Bentley on Monday, provided of course Rick [Parfitt Jnr] keeps his nose out of trouble in the first race! It’s nice to reinforce what people saw at Brands and know pole there wasn’t a fluke. Three hundredths wasn’t much in the end, but it was just about enough!”


British GT returns to Oulton Park for its traditional pair of one-hour bank holiday races this Monday.