Barwell Motorsport’s Jon Minshaw will line up on pole position for Saturday’s 25-minute Qualifying Race at Silverstone – round two of this year’s Blancpain GT Sports Club – after setting the fastest time in Friday’s Qualifying session with the #33 Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Artega Rennsport’s Klaus Dieter Frers took advantage of a slip-up from title rival Stephen Earle to go quickest in the Iron Cup field with the #3 Ferrari 488 GT3.
Silverstone’s typically fickle weather played a major role on the opening day of action at the Home of British Motor Racing, which welcomes SRO Motorsports Group’s Bronze-only drivers series for the very first time in its young history. Showers and heavy rains led to truncated free practice sessions, resulting in limited track time for the 22 Blancpain GT Sports Club drivers ahead of the all-important Qualifying.
The 20-minute session started under grey skies but on a drying track after it stopped raining. British GT star Jon Minshaw set the early pace before the #16 Black Falcon-entered Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Oliver Morley knocked the Barwell Motorsport pilot off his perch. Iron Cup championship leader Stephen Earle then triggered a red flag period when his #111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 hit the barriers at Turn 10.
Once the session resumed, Autovitesse Garage R.Affolter’s Cédric Leimer and his #963 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 briefly went fastest until Minshaw brought the hammer down with a 2:19:923 flyer to re-claim the top spot and secure his maiden Blancpain GT Sports Club pole position on his debut weekend for 1.345s.
Leimer will line up alongside the Briton in an all-Lamborghini front-row. Aboard the same model, last year’s Blancpain GT Sports Club runner-up Nicolas Vandierendonck vaulted his Shipex by Ombra Racing challenger up to third and ahead of former Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Karim Ojjeh on the #2 Boutsen Ginion BMW M6 GT3.
Morley eventually slipped down to fifth at the flag, while Misano pole sitter and Qualifying Race winner Anthony Pons rounded up the top six in the #72 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Following his early misfortune, Earle was overhauled by Iron Cup title rival Klaus Dieter Frers, who claimed the category’s pole position for a mere 0.055s ahead of Louis-Philippe Soenen in the #50 AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3.
Saturday’s Qualifying Race starts at 12:10, local time. The results of the 25-minute contest will determine the grid for the ensuing 40-minute Main Race, which awards the most points at the weekend and gets under way at 17:20.
Both races will be shown live on the official Blancpain GT Sports Club website as well as on Motorsport.tv with both English and French commentary.
Jon Minshaw, #33 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3: « This is my first time in the Blancpain GT Sports Club and it’s a really nice event with lovely people. We have a pretty good setup on the car and in a way I was praying for rain and it happened. I think it will be a different story during the races on Saturday though. I think it will be a lot closer than it may appear. But anyway, I’ll take this pole position. It’s good fun and I really enjoy Silverstone, where we had a win last year. »
Klaus Dieter Frers, #3 Artega Rennsport Ferrari 488 GT3: “When I saw that my direct competitor Stephen [Earle] had a problem in the early minutes of the session, we decided not to risk everything, especially given the tricky weather. In the end, I could have gone faster and started higher up the Overall grid but I will give it everything during Saturday’s races, which should be held in dry conditions. The setup of our Ferrari 488 GT3 has been great, so we are planning to go on the attack and aim for strong results. »