Daniel Lloyd continued his hugely impressive start to the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB when he set the pace during testing at Donington Park today (Thursday 12 April) ahead of rounds three and four of the championship.
Once again, the incredibly strong field set a fearsome pace at the East Midlands track and the top eight drivers ended the day covered by less than four-tenths of a second. While Ahmad Al Harthy (Redline/Oman Air) and Tania Mann (SIBSport) headed Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2, Carrera Cup Scholarship racer Lloyd (JD Pierce with Team Parker) lapped three-tenths of a second under the lap record to head the overall times.
For Lloyd it was the first time in his short Carrera Cup career to date that he had ended the day with the best lap, having run two laps in the 1m07.2s bracket in the afternoon session. “It’s been a mega day,” said Lloyd. “I’m over the moon to be P1 but I think there is a bit more to come.” Sam Tordoff made it a good day for Team Parker Racing by setting the pace in the morning test and he ended the day only six-hundredths of a second behind his team mate. “We had a good set-up from testing before the start of the season and I seem to go well here,” said Tordoff, who believes that a lap beneath the 1m07s mark could be the pole time in Saturday’s qualifying session.
Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) and Rory Butcher (Celtic Speed) both ran very strongly to wrap up the top four and mark themselves as major contenders, while Michael Meadows (Redline Racing) and Jonas Gelzinis (Juta Racing) made it five teams in the top six places. Meadows, the man who has generally set the pace to date this season, reported that he didn’t get a proper run on new tyres but he will surely be in the battle for pole position when qualifying starts on Saturday afternoon.
Right in among the Pro drivers was Al Harthy, who topped Pro-Am1 with eighth best time overall. “The car was perfect and I’m happy with that,” said the Omani racer. “I’ll try and fight the Pros in the races,” he added. However, the strength of the Pro-Am1 pack was amply illustrated as less than a second covered the other six drivers in the category with Derek Pierce (JD Pierce with Team Parker) heading the pursuit of Al Harthy.
“The car is fantastic,” said Pierce. “I was pleased to be only eight-tenths off the overall best time, but disappointed to be down in tenth place overall,” he added. Third in Pro-Am1 came from a strong performance by Victor Jimenez (Redline/Oman Air) with series returnee Karl Leonard (Parr Motorsport) well in touch in fourth. “That’s blown the cobwebs away,” said Leonard after his first proper day of running since the end of the 2011 season.
In Pro-Am2, Mann worked away to find nearly a second between the two sessions and come within an ace of breaking the 1m10s mark. With Will Goff (Goff Racing) likely to miss the weekend due to business commitments and Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing) missing testing, Mann had the Pro-Am2 category to herself for testing.
After qualifying at 14.40 on Saturday, round three will start at 10.00 on Sunday, with round four at 15.40 on Sunday. Round four will be broadcast live on ITV4 during the extensive BTCC programme.