Rhys Davies Blitzes the Field in Season Opening GTSS Qualifying

Rhys Davies opened his 2020 Pole Position tally by blitzing the field to the top qualifying spot at the opening round of the 2020 GT Super Series season at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

After being the class of the field during the Pre-Season Test in Bahrain and through the two practice sessions earlier in the weekend at Interlagos, the Australian would keep his foot on the gas during Qualifying and be six tenths clear at the top of the field. Even with times tumbling for the rest of the field as the track constantly improved, after overnight and morning rains washed the rubber away, the factory Ford’s driver first run would be the decisive one as he put in the fastest lap of the weekend. Davies’s second run would see him catch a group of Independent’s Trophy cars all on fast laps, which left him to focus on race pace for the rest of run.

The only driver to break Davies’s consecutive pole position streaks last season will start alongside him on the first row, with Li Qi placing his Carson Speedworks Corvette as best of the rest. While Qi’s time was six tenths behind what Rhys Davies had done, it was still nearly a second clear of his pole position time from last season in Interlagos. His second place starting position this year went uncontested, as 2019 Driver’s Championship runner-up Nathan McKane was a further two and a half tenths off the pace, after Qi only managed to secure pole position last year by one hundredth of a second. The driver that qualified second behind Qi last year will start fourth this year, with Andrea Constantini being the last driver to be within one second of the pole time in his Scuderia Italia Ferrari.

The second factory Aston Martin and Fords will take up the third row of the grid, with Matteo Rossi and Darren Older Jr. being the last two drivers to break into the one minute, twenty-five second barrier during the twenty minute qualifying session. The rest of the top ten would be locked out by Manufacture’s Trophy entries, with Emma Pescatore and Joey Alliot on the fourth row, and the returning Frank Zimmer and reigning World Driver’s Champion Chris Winter starting his second title defense in tenth position. The two Manufacture’s Trophy entries outside the top ten were Evgeny Restov and Amato Agostini, who will start Sunday’s race from nineteenth and twenty-first respectively.

Taking the pole position for the Independent’s Trophy on series debut is Lasse Tilkesson in the Blokkmonsta Aston Martin. Tilkesson would move to the top of the class standings on his second run during the session after provisionally being thirteenth overall and third in class after everyone had completed their first runs. Joel Melrose, now on qualifying duty at Tom Douglas Racing, lead the way in class but failed to improve on his second run which opened the door for the Independent Aston Martin. Tilkesson would improve by four tenths in his final run, propelling him to class poll in Blokkmonsta’s return to the series since running in the 2017 Super GP. Melrose would remain second in class after Andrea Massini in the Minarae Mercedes would also improve, but would find himself just one thousandth of a second behind the Australian.

It is Davies’s seventh pole position in his last nine races in GT Super Series competition. The only times that streak would be broke was by Li Qi, doing so at Gatineau, Quebec and at his home race in Zhuhai, China. Within that run for Davies, he only made it to victory twice after his exclusion from the Molson GT Gatineau, with the victories coming at Spa-Francorchamps and at the Round of Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit.

Qualifying Results – Round of Brazil

140MRhys DaviesMacMillan1:24.751
264MLi QiCarson+0.655
32MNathan McKaneRavenwest+0.919
428MAndrea ConstantiniScuderia Italia+0.930
56MMatteo RossiProdrive AMR+1.156
643MDarren Older Jr.MacMillan+1.234
703MEmma PescatoreSolvalou+1.334
863MJoey AlliotCarson+1.446
924MFrank ZimmerPagani+1.461
1001MChris WinterSolvalou+1.464
1152ILasse TilkessonBlokkmonsta+1.595
1255IJoel MelroseTom Douglas+1.837
1377IAndrea MassiniMinarae+1.838
1487IDarren CardelFerdinand United+1.848
1504IPaul TravesenLumenition RMR+1.849
16550IPhil McCrackenCzechmate+1.913
1787ILaurindo CoehloBest In The World+1.936
1815IMelanie BourneBoutsen Ginion+1.940
1927MEvgeny RestovScuderia Italia+1.991
2042ISylvain FabronMinster+2.008
2125MAmato AgostiniPagani+2.022
2282IPaul JenkinsGlobex Scorpio+2.152
23555IAntonio Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+2.183
2419IPeter OliverOliver+2.191
25801IJans ZeitnerAMG+2.238
2688IHarrison WilkinsonLKM+2.413
2714IGerald PereriaGP+2.453
2891ILuke Gilson-ClarkeOliver+2.534
2911IKoyomi SetouBest In The World+2.589
30007IJohn MagnusFalken Tire+2.641