Late dash does it for Dan at Donington

Late dash does it for Dan at Donington

Dan Gibson produced a late flyer to snatch pole position for the 50-minute GT Cup Championship endurance race at Donington Park in his McLaren 650S GT3. He emerged at the top of the times on his final effort in qualifying, grabbing the advantage away from fellow Group GTO rival Andrew Howard.

Howard, in his Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3, had been trading the top spot with the Gareth Downing and the National Motorsport Academy Mosler for much of the session. With both drivers continuing their entertaining battles from Saturday’s two sprint races, Howard seemed to have pole sealed, before Gibson popped up to spoil the party with a lap some 0.215s quicker.

“There’s actually a bit more in the car,” said Gibson. “I had to avoid taking too much life out of tyres. I left it late, but Dad [Paul Gibson] has got the car handling really well. The only way I can describe it is if you get a load of mates round and play Mario Kart – it feels like that and you have a smile on your face the whole time and my Dad loves racing against Nigel [Hudson] who is back on form again.”

Fresh from an almighty charge through the field on Saturday in his Porsche, Michael Igoe qualified on pole position in Group GTC. The WPI Motorsport man’s best lap also came late on in qualifying and was enough to demote John Seale to second place by just under three tenths of a second.

“We did dig deep,” said Igoe. “I had a spin early on when on for a good time but stayed out longer at the end to get the result we wanted. We’re back on it and I’m massively looking forward to the race now. A big thank you to WPI Motorsport because they’ve worked so hard all weekend, and particularly to Alan and Adam who have helped me all season.”

Warren Gilbert continued his weekend-long battle with the Team Webb BMW but came out on top in today’s qualifying session. “I was struggling at the start,” said Gilbert. “Then they [the Webbs] got a good time in, so I came into the pits to save my tyres and then distracted them when they went out again. It worked, and we got the pole position back, so I’m chuffed to bits. We’re ready to rock but the race could be a struggle because they have a fresh driver in this time.”

Adam Hatfield continued his tremendous debut GT Cup season with pole position in Group GTH, though he found himself being pushed hard in the session by the Ginettas of Century Motorsport and JMH Autotmotive.

“That was a tough qualifying session,” said Hatfield. “I put in a lap to start with and thought that might be good enough, but obviously Piers [Johnson] and David [Holloway] were within a hundredth of us so I went back out and had another go. I found extra time at the Melbourne Loop and that was good enough. We’ve got such a competitive class now and we have a factory Aston Martin Racing driver in Ross Gunn to race with later on today, so it should be fun.”

In Group GTA, James Reveler and Gary Smith were on top in the Tocpats Racing Ginetta G55. “It’s much better weather and qualifying went fairly well,” said Reveler. “We’re using yesterday’s tyres whereas some others will have new tyres for the race but we’re still where we want to be. As long as we finish and get the points, that’s the main thing. We want to race, but we’ll stay out of trouble too.”

Qualifying results:

Group GTO

1 – Dan/Paul Gibson – Gibson Motorsport (McLaren 650S GT3)

2 – Andrew Howard – Beechdean AMR (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)

3 – Gareth Downing – National Motorsport Academy (Mosler MT900)

Group GTC

1 – Michael Igoe/Adam Wilcox – WPI Motorsport (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Gen II)

2 – John Seale/Abbie Eaton – JMH Automotive (Ferrari 488 Challenge)

3 – Paul Bailey/Phillip Glew – SB Race Engineering (Ferrari 488 Challenge)

Group GTB

1 – Warren Gilbert – Top Cats Racing (Marcos Mantis)

2 – James Webb/Tom Webb – Team Webb (BMW M3 GTR)

3 – Richard/Sam Neary – Team ABBA Racing (BMW M3)

Group GTH

1 – Adam Hatfield – Whitebridge Motorsport (Aston Martin GT4)

2 – David Holloway/Piers Johnson – Century Motorsport / Marlin Hawk Racing (Ginetta G55 GT4)

3 – Steve Ruston/John Whitehouse – JMH Automotive (Ginetta G55 GT4)

Group GTA

1 – James Reveler/Gary Smith – Top Cats Racing (Ginetta G55 GT4)