Stephen Jelley and Steve Parish took pole position for today’s two-hour endurance race in their #10 Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3 R.
Motorbase worked tirelessly to re-build the rear-end of the #10 car after an earlier off by Parish in the second free practice session threatened to prevent the pair from qualifying. However, an act of good will from fellow Porsche team, Trackspeed saw the double Teams Champions lend Motorbase the necessary parts to get the car into qualifying.
“The car was good and the team worked really hard, there was obviously an issue with some damage from free practice. Thanks to Trackspeed for the exhaust parts, at one stage it looked like someone might have to drive to Germany to get the bits we needed. The lap was good, I got some traffic, but the balance was good and we’re looking healthy for tomorrow.” – Stephen Jelley, Motorbase Porsche
The thirty-minute qualifying was fascinating; times tumbled throughout and at the end the top-ten GT3 cars were separated by little over a second.
Early leaders were Rosso Verde’s Allan Simonsen and Hector Lester; Simonsen’s lap of 1:23.590 laid down the gauntlet by some margin and it was MTECH, another Ferrari team that gave chase and eventually overcame Simonsen’s time. However, MTECH’s Matt Griffin lost this time due to exceeding the track limits, leaving Simonsen on top once more.
Rockingham has traditionally favored the balance of the Porsche in previous years, and 2012 proved to be no exception. The #11 Motorbase Porsche of Michael Caine and Daniele Perfetti exchanged times at the sharp end with former Porsche Carrera Cup GB ace, Caine on board, and a time of 1:23.456 saw them qualify third, providing them with ample opportunity to add to their impressive points haul already achieved this season.
Good Samaritans, Trackspeed, unsurprisingly edged up the timesheet with their more experienced drivers in place. Phil Keen, deputizing for the Le Mans bound Richard Westbrook led home the trio of Porsches in seventh, with Joe Osborne a tenth off him in eighth, and ex-BTCC charger, Tim Harvey, tenth and half a second off Keen. It wasn’t plain sailing for Berkshire-based Keen though, an off later in the session caused minor damage to the front underside of the car he shares with 2010 Champion, David Ashburn.
Just ahead of Harvey and Minshaw’s tenth placed Porsche was the Nissan GT-R of Jann Mardenborough and Alex Buncombe. Their RJN Nissan again out-qualified the rival JMH car (14th) and were a second off pole position on the tricky International Long circuit at Rockingham
Separated by two tenths in fifth and sixth were Beechdean’s Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam and the BMW of Ecurie Ecosse’s Alasdair McCaig and Oliver Bryant. While the #007 numbered Aston had pace from the outset, the BMW’s times were more progressive, and try as hard as they might, couldn’t break into the top-five.
With Ferrari driver Griffin now topping the GT3 class with his impressive lap of 1:23.437, it was Stephen Jelley who would ensure Porsche again topped the timesheets at Rockingham. Jelley, who finished third in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB last year, created some space for himself on a crowded track and fired the #10 Motorbase Porsche to pole with a time of 1:23.380, just five hundredths of a second quicker than Griffin.
Today’s two-hour endurance race gets underway at 15:25 BST, and you can follow the action with live text commentary via our Twitter account http://www.twitter.com/BritishGT
Race Five Top Ten Provisional Qualifying Times:
1. Steve Parish/Stephen Jelley – Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3 R – 1:23:380
2. Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin – MTECH Ferrari 458 – 1:23:437
3. Danielle Perfetti/Michael Caine – Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3 R – 1:23:456
4. Hector Lester/Allan Simonsen Rosso Verde – Ferrari 458 – 1:23.590
5. Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam – Beechdean Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage – 1:23.709
6. Alasdair McCaig/Oliver Bryant – Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 – 1:23.919
7. David Ashburn/Phil Keen – Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R – 1:24.008
8. Steve Tandy/Joe Osborne – Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R – 1:24.112
9. Jann Mardenborough/Alex Buncombe – RJN Motorsports Nissan GT-R – 1:24.383
10. Jon Minshaw/Tim Harvey – Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3 R – 1:24.597
- British GT