Scott Maxwell and Sebastian Priaulx took an unusual qualifying clean sweep in GT4 as the Multimatic Ford Mustangs dominated proceedings at a baking Oulton Park.
Canadian Maxwell, having previously never visited Oulton Park, took pole for the morning race on Monday ahead of teammate Jade Buford, with the HHC McLaren duo Dean MacDonald and Tom Jackson very much the best of the rest.
The TF Sport #95 entry of 16-year-old Patrick Kibble was the highest placed Aston Martin of the early session for TF Sport ahead of Tolman’s Jordan Collard and defending GT4 champions Century Motorsport with Mark Kimber.
Alex Toth-Jones in the Academy Motorsport Aston Martin was eighth, while James Dorlin was ninth for Tolman having graduated from the Renault Clio Cup last year ahead of Pro/Am category Championship contender Kelvin Fletcher in the Beechdean Aston Martin.
In Race Two qualifying, Priaulx was over a second clear of the field as he annihilated his GT4 counterparts.
Scott Malvern’s Team Parker Racing Mercedes was the next best, 1.1s behind the Ford Mustang with Michael Broadhurst third to make it an AMG 2-3.
Martin Plowman backed up teammate Fletcher’s earlier top ten starting position with fourth for Beechdean Aston Martin, with Tom Canning’s TF Sport Aston rounding out a competitive top five.
Matt George was sixth in the Invictus Racing Jaguar ahead of Luke Williams in the HHC McLaren and Lewis Proctor’s Tolman McLaren, with defending champions Century Motorsport ninth on the grid with Angus Fender and Josh Smith in the second Tolman completing the top ten.
Elsewhere, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the three Ford Mustang entries, as Sam Smelt and Aron Taylor-Smith hit strife in the Race Performance #23 to start from the back of the field on Bank Holiday Monday.
Iain Loggie will start from pole position for the first race of the British GT 2019 season after an impressive display during AM qualifying.
Loggie was over half a second clear in his first race since switching from Bentley to a Mercedes for this season at a hot Oulton Park.
The Scotsman will lead Ryan Ratcliffe’s Bentley away from the lights on Monday morning after a strong showing from the Welshman, with Sam De Haan’s Lamborghini completing the top three.
Rick Parfitt Junior will go from fourth after again teaming up with Bentley and Seb Morris, ahead of Dominic PAul and Adam Balon.
Callum Willmott and Mark Farmer complete row four as Aston Martin still try to find their feet with the new V8 Vantage ahead of Richard Neary and Graham Davidson, with the troubled Shaun Balfe McLaren and Ollie Wilkinson’s Aston Martin on the penultimate row ahead of Andrew Howard’s Beechdean Aston Martin.
In GT4 Pro qualifying, it was another strong RAM Racing showing as Adam Christodoulou was able to qualify third behind a stunning lap from Phil Keen in the Barwell Lamborghini and Callum Macleod’s excellent showing for Bentley.
Seb Morris’ fourth place to back the earlier result up of his teammate Parfitt suggests that Bentley are back on song after a difficult 2018 campaign for the 2017 champions.
Jonny Cocker was fifth for Barwell ahead of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen in the Aston Martins, while the Century Motorsport BMW duo of Jack Mitchell and Ben Green were eighth and ninth.
Defending champion Jonny Adam was only 10th in the TF Sport Aston Martin V8 Vantage, with Bradley Ellis and Glynn Geddie rounding off the GT3 class after Rob Bell’s McLaren failed to set a time.
IMAGE: Xynamic via @RAMRacing
Century Motorsport’s Ben Tuck and Ben Green have taken British GT4 pole ahead of tomorrow’s championship decider.
A session-long battle with the Equipe Verschuur McLaren of Finlay Hutchison and Daniel McKay ended with the #42 crew applying maximum championship pressure on teammate and leader Jack Mitchell and co-driver Dean MacDonald, who were only seventh.
Ben Barnicoat and Adam Balon were third in the #72 Balfe McLaren 570s, Barnicoat setting the second-fastest GT4 time in the final session.
Will Moore and Matt Nicoll-Jones are fourth and have an outside chance of the title should they convert that into a win and their rivals fall by the wayside. The Academy Motorsport duo are fifth, 31 points behind Mitchell.
One of those rivals are Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg in the #4 Tolman Motorsport McLaren. They line up sixth for the race tomorrow and have a similarly outside chance, 28 points back in fourth place in the standings.
The team third in the standings are the #55 duo of Callum Pointon and Patrik Matthiesen in the HHC Motorsport Ginetta. They are 13.5 points behind Mitchell, but have work to do to overhaul him.
Elsewhere, British Touring Car Championship race winner Adam Morgan was fastest in the Ciceley Racing #25 Mercedes during the second part of GT4 qualifying, sharing with amateur David Fairbrother.
Ben Barnicoat is the 2017 Sean Edwards Foundation winner. He collected the coveted Lalique Trophy along with 20 sets of Pirelli tyres for the 2018 season.
Ben races in the Blancpain GT Series for Strakka Racing.
Daphne McKinley Edwards (Chairman & Founder) said ‘when I watched Ben’s development over his first season in the Blancpain GT Series, his acceleration, commitment and drive is what stood out, he is a highly focused driver and definitely one to watch’.