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Bateman and Westbrook celebrate GT pole positions at Oulton Park

Saturday, April 07 2012

Charles Bateman and Richard Westbrook were the stars of qualifying for Monday's Avon Tyres British GT Championship season opening races at Oulton Park today (Saturday). The Audi and Porsche drivers topped two drama-filled sessions, with the pole positions impossible to predict.

The Trackspeed cars were first in line, heading out in formation for the first 15 minute session. However David Jones in the Preci-Spark Mercedes immediately lapped faster than all three, before Charles Bateman headed the field in the United Autosports Audi. Jones responded, with Jan Mardenborough taking second in the RJN Nissan GTR.

Meanwhile David Ashburn was setting the sector times alight in the Trackspeed number 31 Porsche and jumped to the top of the timesheet. Mardenborough went quicker still, with Bateman barely any slower in second.

Next to impress was Motorbase's Daniele Perfetti, fastest of all in the first sector, however traffic at the end of the lap left him in fifth place. Andrew Howard spent a few moments on pole in the Aston Martin, only to see Bateman take it away and with a margin of eight tenths, he seemed to have the place guaranteed.

A fine effort from Alaisdair McCaig in the Ecurie Ecosse Z4 hauled him up to third, ahead of Mardenborough, with Duncan Cameron fifth in the Mtech Ferrari. David Ashburn will start race one from sixth, whilst local team Chevron enjoyed a good session, with Jordan Witt seventh, driving the Invitation Class GT3. Jones wound up eighth in the final reckoning, ahead of the Benji Hetherington GTR and Perfetti. The GT4 class pole was taken by Jody Fannin in the WFR Ginetta G50.

Session two was much anticipated, with the Porsches of Nick Tandy and Richard Westbrook and the Trackspeed cars set off first again. Westbrook led Tim Harvey early on, before Jonathan Adam stole second place in the Aston Martin. With Harvey's next effort quicker, he was now second to Matt Griffin in the Mtech Ferrari.

Adam then retook provisional pole, with Griffin and Westbrook heading Harvey, before Westbrook returned to the top of the list. After this frantic bout of activity the session settled down, with little in the way of improvement s amongst the front runners. However, missing from the list was Tandy, after the Motorbase team discovered a problem with the car following the first session.

Following Westbrook, Adam and Griffin, Allan Simonsen took fourth in the Mtech Ferrari, with Harvey fifth, Matt Bell's Audi sixth, Michael Caine seventh in the sole Motorbase Porsche and Joe Osbourne eight in the Trackspeed 911. Oliver Bryant took ninth in the Ecurie Ecosse car, from Aaron Scott's Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari tenth. Leading GT4 was the Phil Glew Lotus Sport UK Evora.

Race one takes place at 10:55 and race two at 15:03 on Monday.

Avon Tyres British GT Championship qualifying one

1, Charles Bateman, United Autosports, Audi R8 LMS, GT3, 1:37.094s
2, Andrew Howard, Beechdean, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, GT3, +0.859s
3, Alasdair McCaig, Ecurie Ecosse, BMW Z4 GT3, GT3, +1.071s
4, Jan Mardenborough, RJN Motorsport, Nissan GTR GT3, GT3, +1.423s
5, Duncan Cameron, Mtech, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3, +1.443s
6, David Ashburn, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +2.142s
7, Jordan Witt, Chevron Cars, Chevron GT3, INV, +2.214s
8, David Jones, Preci-Spark, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, GT3, +2.231
9, Benji Hetherington, JMH, Nissan GTR GT3, GT3, +2.457s
10, Danielle Perfetti, Motorbase, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +2.733s

Avon Tyres British GT Championship qualifying two

1, Richard Westbrook, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, 1:35.400s
2, Jonathan Adam, Beechdean, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, GT3, +0.375s
3, Matt Griffin, Mtech, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3, +0.396s
4, Allan Simonsen, Rosso Verde,  Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3, +1.054s
5, Tim Harvey, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +1.202s
6, Matt Bell, United Autosports, Audi R8 LMS, GT3, +1.403s
7, Michael Caine, Motorbase, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +1.424s
8, Joe Osborne, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GT3, +1.844s
9, Oliver Bryant, Ecurie Ecosse, BMW Z4 GT3, GT3, +1.972s

10, Aaron Scott, Scuderia Vittoria, Ferrari 458 Italia, GT3, +2.208s

Tickets for the British GT/F3 Championships at Oulton Park on 6,7 & 9 April are available on the gate from £16, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.