With the sun shining over the Kent circuit, 31 cars took to the circuit for the first free practice session of the weekend at Brands Hatch.
The atmosphere in the paddock was electric, with the excitement building over who would take the championship honours.
The usual activity followed in the team garage, with work being carried out on car setup and the scrubbing of tyres. Chris Smiley finished the session in 9th and Dan Lloyd in 11th, ending his session early so that the team could undertake a precautionary engine change, due to concerns over a small oil leak.
Between FP1 and FP2 the garage was a hive of activity, with the pressure on to get Dan’s engine changed before FP2 started. Great teamwork resulted in Dan getting onto the circuit with the other cars when the pit lane opened. A brilliant effort by all!
In FP2 Chris got to work on improving on his FP1 performance and finished the session 9th again, but had shaved two tenths off his fastest lap in the previous session. As Dan was running his replacement engine, it took a little while to get focusing on the lap times. Completing just 12 laps in the session, Dan finished inside the top 20 in 19th.
The final qualifying session of the day got underway at 15:20 and being the last qualifying session of the year, the pressure was on to ensure that the team finished the season on a high. Both Chris and Dan have sampled the top step of the podium this year and with a couple of rounds since their maiden wins, both were keen to maximise on their chances of more silverware this weekend.
Chris completed several qualifying runs and on his 11th lap achieved a time of 1:30.895, securing 8th on the grid for race one on Sunday morning. He did occupy 5th, but unfortunately his lap time was disallowed due to a track limits infringement.
Dan also got straight into the swing of things quickly and qualified 5th on the grid for race one tomorrow, putting him in a prime position to challenge for podiums tomorrow.
With both drivers in the top ten, Team Boss Bert Taylor was pleased with the session, and is excited to see what the team can do tomorrow. “I am really pleased that we have finished the final qualifying session of the season with strong results. The boys have shown great pace today, and are both keen to get themselves back on the podium before the season ends.”
Photography: Phil Laughton