Front row lockout for 2 Seas Motorsport at Gulf 12 Hours Bahrain

January 8, 2021
Gulf 12 Hours
Race Report

2 Seas Motorsport will start the Gulf 12 Hours Bahrain with both cars on the front row of the grid after a stellar qualifying effort.

Across the three sessions, the pair of British-Bahraini McLaren 720S GT3s traded fastest laps, but it was the #33 entry of Isa Al-Khalifa, Ben Barnicoat and Martin Kodrić which narrowly edged ahead in the final shootout to secure an impressive 1-2 grid position for the team on home soil. 

With damage sustained in the opening practice session the team were initially on the backfoot but worked through the night and wasted no time as both the #33 and #7 McLaren 720S GT3s showed leading pace. As the drivers found their rhythm around the Bahrain International Circuit during the second free practice session, Ed Jones topped the timesheets, leading teammate Isa Al-Khalifa by just 0.2s. The third and final practice session then saw Isa’s teammate and McLaren Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat quickest while the #7 of Lewis Williamson, Dylan Pereira and Ed Jones finished in 4th.

The qualifying sessions then saw each driver with a 15-minute window to lay down a marker, with an average laptime being taken across each session to determine the final grid order. Making his rescheduled debut with the team after his 2020 race plans were affected, Isa initially posted a blistering lap to claim the top spot. Ed then improved his time slightly in the sister car in the closing minutes to end the session with 2 Seas Motorsport locking out the top-2 positions.

With laptimes evenly matched between the two cars, balance then tipped in favour of the #33 over the remaining two sessions. Lewis looked to have secured the top spot in Q2 with another storming lap, before Martin improved his initial lap to edge ahead by just 0.14s. With the track getting quicker as the sun faded over the horizon and temperature dropped, Q3 saw Dylan and Ben in one final battle for pole position. Dylan’s strong opening lap improved the average laptime for the #7 and moved to provisional pole, before Ben laid down the quickest lap of the weekend so far with the #33 McLaren. His 1m 59.107s lap claimed the top spot for the session and also overtured the deficit to secure overall pole position. 

Nick Cristofaro, 2 Seas Motorsport team co-owner.

“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the last 24 hours! It was unfortunate to start the weekend with the off, but it proved what a strong team we have built. Everyone pulled together and worked through the night to have the car back ready to roll out of the garage this morning, and today’s result is a huge credit to them and the massive effort each of them made.

Each of the drivers did a great job across the different sessions, pushing themselves, each other and the cars to the limit, underlining the efforts the whole team has gone to in the build-up to this weekend. In particular, real credit must go to Isa in his first qualifying session, putting the car on pole position with his teammates Ben and Martin.

It is great to see him finally in the car after travel restrictions prevented him racing last season.”

The result sees 2 Seas Motorsport lock out the front row of the 12-car grid for tomorrow’s Gulf 12 Hours Bahrain event, with the race starting at 09.30 AST / 06.30 GMT, 9 January 2021.

Follow @2SeasMotorsport social media channels to track the progress throughout the race, which will also be streamed live via the Gulf 12 Hours Bahrain YouTube channel.