It was a weekend of mixed emotions for Patrick Kibble as the talented youngster delivered a memorable qualifying performance to claim pole position for the British GT Silverstone 500, only for a race plagued with penalties meaning the team had to settle for ninth position.
Missing the weekend’s first practice session on Friday due to his GCSE examinations, Patrick arrived at the circuit on Saturday morning looking to make up for lost time. In the second practice outing, lap times tumbled due to drying track conditions and a 2:25.820s was in the books to put Patrick and his team-mate, Josh Price, sixth quickest in class.
When the time for qualifying came, the #95 car duo made excellent progress to secure a memorable pole position. In what was only the Bromley-based youngster’s third ever British GT qualifying session, Patrick set a blistering lap in only his second timed lap of the session, very impressive considering the changing weather and track conditions from the morning practice sessions.
The 16-year-old Aston Martin Academy Racing driver set the benchmark by leading the opening session by over half of a second. This was the same time difference that covered second to eighth, proving Patrick’s time to be deeply impressive and highlighting his ability.
Josh Price, Patrick’s team mate then took over for the second qualifying session as the grid is determined by the average time of the two GT4 drivers. Josh set a near identical time to Patrick - only 0.001s off the pace - ensuring the duo’s first pole position ahead of Sunday’s race as the best average time on the grid.
After the high’s of Saturday, the blue riband of the British GT calendar, The Silverstone 500, proved to be a challenging one for Patrick and his TF Sport team.
Josh was the race starter, and he led the car away from pole well to develop a healthy lead over his competitors. Yet the #95 car’s chances of claiming an incredible victory were ended as they suffered three stop/go penalties across the duration of the 3 hour race courtesy of pit lane infringements, incurred due to a pit timer issue in the car.
At the one hour mark, Josh was running in seventh position and although disappointed to find themselves down the order, the pace was still present to claw these positions back and deliver a strong result. Unfortunately, any lingering hopes were soon distinguished by the third penalty of the race for the team.
As a result, by the two-hour mark the tables had turned completely and the #95 car was running 10th in class.
With Patrick behind the wheel for the final stint, he fought valiantly to bring the car home in ninth position - a disappointing end to a weekend filled with highs and lows.
“This weekend has been a roller-coaster of emotions for myself and the team,” Patrick said. “It was amazing to qualify on pole position. The car felt excellent and ahead of the session I was confident that I could deliver a good result - and that’s exactly what happened. On my second timed lap everything just fell into place and my time was the fastest of the group by some distance. I was then delighted that Josh could replicate my performance to ensure we had pole!
“The race got off to a great start, and it was a good moment to watch Josh leading our class. Unfortunately, due to no fault of our own, it went downhill from there. Sometimes, things happen that are beyond your control and this race a stark reminder of that. While deeply disappointing, I know the team and I are ready to fight back at Donington in two week’s time.”
Patrick and the team won’t have long to wait before they get a chance for redemption with the next round of British GT competition taking place at Donington Park on 22-23 June.