Rhys Davies Stands Tall in Roller Coaster Sepang Qualifying

Rhys Davies secured his fifth pole position of the season with a last second lap during a wet and wild qualifying session for the GT Super Series Round of Malaysia at Sepang.

With storm clouds looming over the circuit, the session was initially declared dry as the traditional afternoon rains had failed to appear. More than a dozen drivers went out on slicks at the start of the session only for the downpour to begin before any of them were able to start their flying lap. Of those who braved that first flying lap on slicks, Independent’s Trophy points leader Melanie Bourne put in the best time, but it was clear everyone would have to come back to the pits for wet tires to put in a representative time. In the closing ten minutes of the session, all thirty cars would hit the flooded Sepang Circuit on full wet tires going in a bid for pole position.

Going to the top of the times after everyone, except current World Driver’s Championship points leader Chris Winter, put in their first representative times was Tom Douglas Racing driver James Douglas. His low-2:05 would hold station as the provisional pole time until with four minutes remaining, when some of the Factory teams started to show their hands. In short order, six of the Manufacture Trophy cars jumped into the top ten with Joey Alliot now having claimed provisional pole position. But with everyone still improving as a fast line had developed, fastest times were still being set even as the session had finished.

And it was on his last lap that Rhys Davies would snipe pole position from the Carson Speedworks driver. He was the only driver to get in the 2:04s in the session and gives him his fifth pole position of the season, one away from the record high set by Matteo Rossi last year. Alliot would stay on the first row of the grid, while Douglas would be relegated to the second row of the grid and will start alongside championship contender Nathan McKane. The Scot leads the way for all the major championship contenders, with Chris Winter only managing the tenth best time on a recovery drive after a early trip through the sand trap and Matteo Rossi stuck down in eighteenth.

Behind the Independent’s Trophy pole sitter Douglas was Team Falken Tire driver John Magnus, continuing to show the strength of the Falken rubber in wet conditions with the sixth fastest time in the session. The second of the Tom Douglas Racing Saleens will start ninth, with Antonio Reyna-Sanchez starting alongside Chris Winter. Melanie Bourne, who was the fastest of those who went out on slicks, still managed to put in the twelfth fastest time and fifth among Independent entries. Her, and Marie Alberta Luisa, chief rival in the championship in Peter Oliver will start Sunday’s race from fourteenth overall, and crucially sixth in class.

Qualifying Results – Round of Malaysia

140MRhys DaviesMacMillan2:04.929
263MJoey AlliotCarson+0.229
355IJames DouglasTom Douglas+0.265
42MNathan McKaneRavenwest+0.313
515MPaul TravesenGerald Pereria+0.452
67IJohn MagnusFalken Tire+0.641
703MEmma PescatoreSolvalou+1.104
843MDarren Older Jr.MacMillan+1.153
9555IAntonio Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1.230
1001MChris WinterSolvalou+1.252
1105INathan ScottAoi+1.351
123IMelanie BourneBoutsen Ginion+1.405
1364MLi QiCarson+1.454
1419IPeter OliverOliver+1.491
1518IShouta SakaiTsuchigami+1.509
1688IHarrison WilkinsonLKM+1.546
1714MFabian ReiGerald Pereria+1.552
186MMatteo RossiGulf+1.557
1928MJames James DaviesScuderia Italia+2.906
2027MEvgeny RestovScuderia Italia+2.925
2141IKoyomi SetouBest In The World+2.960
2213INatsuki YanameWinton+3.075
2325MAnton RobishaudPagani+3.104
244IEliana DiazBoutsen Ginion+3.157
2534IArtesia MassOran+3.204
2666IYuya KurosawaToshio+3.281
2724MAmato AgostiniPagani+3.469
2832IKjeld AxelsenRMR+3.726
2930IPaul JenkinsGlobex Scorpio+4.580
30550IPhil McCrackenCzechmate+4.741