Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 championship leader Niall Murray took pole position in a chaotic qualifying session on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
Team Dolan Van Diemen driver Murray set a time of 50.346s to jump ahead of Michael Eastwell by 0.147s late in the session before Luke Cooper’s three-wheeled Swift SC16 brought out the second red flag – and ultimately the chequered flag – of the 15-minute session.
Cooper, who trails Murray by 17 points in the standings, stopped along the Cooper Straight after his wheel dramatically parted ways with his car and flew across the track, thankfully being avoided by the following cars.
Cooper had already been in the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, going off in avoidance as the Clubman Post 89 top two John Svensson and Henry Chart collided, causing the first red flag just five minutes into the session.
Neil Maclennan was third in his Cliff Dempsey Ray ahead of Joey Foster, whose late improvement moved the Truro-based Ray driver up from tenth to fourth just before the session-ending red flag.
The impressive Hugo Bentley-Ellis (Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum) was shuffled down to fifth at the end, having topped the timesheets early on.
2017 Walter Hayes Trophy winner Michael Moyers (Spectrum) was next up ahead of the stranded Cooper.
Nico Gruber was eighth in his Cliff Dempsey Racing-run Ray ahead of Matt Round-Garrido, the Medina Sport driver coming to Brands third in the standings after his maiden victory at Knockhill last time out.
Jamie Thorburn rounded out the top ten in his Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray. A steering arm failure pitched him into the barrier at the bottom of Paddock Hill Bend in Friday’s first testing session, costing him track time.
Despite his Paddock Hill Bend off, nobody could challenge Clubman Post 89 top runner Svensson (Van Diemen).
Daniel O’Beirne deposited Chart from second place in his Swift, with Chart holding onto third ahead of Richard Morris (Swift).Race one of the day gets underway at 15.55 this afternoon.
|1||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||50.346|
|9||Pro||Matt Round-Garrido||Medina Sport||+0.369|
|14||Pro||Chris Middlehurst||Van Diemen||+0.754|
|16||Pro||Joshua Smith||Van Diemen||+0.867|
|22||Pro||Pascal Monbaron||Van Diemen||+1.270|
|23||Pro||Sebastian Job||Van Diemen||+1.390|
|24||CM89||John Svensson||Van Diemen||+1.472|
|26||CM89||Henry Chart||Van Diemen||+1.553|
|30||Pro||Davide Meloni||Van Diemen||+2.362|