It was a welcome homecoming for Jake Dennis and Aston Martin, who took pole position for the R-Motorsport team in convincing style for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance race at Silverstone this afternoon. Dennis though has French teammate, Max Vaxivière, to thank though after a stunning lap in Q1 saw the 23-year-old saw him take a 0.663 second advantage over the rest of the field – unheard of in Blancpain qualifying.
That allowed Dennis and Nicki Thiim to focus on clean laps during their sessions. Dennis noted afterwards that this was the focus and is optimistic of a good result in the race. “There is no reason we can’t take a win later on,” he said. “The track suits us a little bit more than Monza (the opening Blancpain round) did.”
As if to prove that point, the second R-Motorsport Aston of Alex Brundle qualified in 4th, with a strong AKKA ASP Mercedes performance from Adam Christodoulou and Raffaele Marciello one of two cars breaking the Astons up with 2nd on the grid.
There was a surprising yet pleasing result for the ROWE BMW of Ricky Collard and Nick Yelloly, who qualified sixth. Consistency was the key but for Yelloly, this was all the more remarkable considering this is the first weekend he has driven the M6 GT3 in anger. Collard too was in electrifying form, finishing 3rd fastest in Q1 and continuing his promising form of late.
Michael Meadows saw his SMP-Backed AKKA ASP Mercedes scoop 11th on the grid, primarily due to the consistency of their drivers, which is the key to the new format of qualifying. The Nissan of Matthew Parry and Alex Buncombe looked pacy but a red flag and a hit cone hampered their progress, which sees the RJN Motorsport-run car starting in 18th. Just behind them is the #17 WRT Audi of Stuart Leonard who, despite looking to be so far down in the field, are still within a second of the pole time.
In the Silver Cup, Jack Manchester’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 will start second in class and 17th overall, with Nico Bastian showing great speed again. Behind him in class will be the TF Sport Aston Martin featuring Euan McKay, which will begin the race in 24th.
Seb Morris is looking good in the Team Parker Bentley, recording tenth quickest time in an ultra-competitive Q3. This leaves Morris and co-drivers, Derek Pierce and Rob Smith in 25th, 2nd in the Pro-Am category. 3rd in class (and 30th overall) is Euan Hankey and Darren Burke in the RAM Racing Mercedes.
Elsewhere there was an AM Cup pole for Chris Goodwin, Top Gear presenter Chris Harris and Anglo-Swede Alexander West, as they qualified in 40th. Goodwin, the more experienced of the trio, said afterwards that the session went well and that “the target this weekend was to get Harris and West up to speed and stay out of trouble.” It bodes well for the race for their Garage 59 McLaren, despite some worry yesterday that they were not amongst the quickest in the category.