Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon will start the Spa 24 Hours on pole position after Maro Engel’s rapid final lap ensured the team maintained its provisional pole position from Thursday’s qualifying session.
PRE-QUALIFICATION REPORT | INTERVIEW YELMER BUURMAN
Maro Engel’s 2m18.588sec in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 came on the very last lap of the Super Pole session – which saw drivers go out at pre-defined slots to complete two flying laps – and pipped long-time pole-sitter Laurens Vanthoor by 0.017s.
The Team75 Bernhard driver had seemed unbeatable after his own 2m18.607sec looked like enough to take the team’s first pole position at the Belgian circuit in what was a strong session for the German marque as Nick Tandy qualified the #998 ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3.R in fourth.
Sandwiching the pair was Davide Rigon in the SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, the Italian’s second lap proved to be the fastest but still ended 0.201sec down on the benchmark time.
The HubAuto Corsa Ferrari driven by Daniel Serra ended the session in fifth, 0.069sec quicker than Dries Vanthoor in the fastest of the Team WRT Audi R8 LMSs. Nico Muller was seventh in the second of the Team WRT entries, with Mattia Drudi taking Silver Cup pole in the Attempto Racing Audi.
Maxi Buhk took ninth in the GruppeM Mercedes, while Matthieu Jaminet – one of the early runners in the session – rounded out the top ten.
The fastest Aston Martin honours went to Jake Dennis in the 13th-placed #76 R-Motorsport Vantage, finishing 0.015sec ahead of Maxime Martin in the sister car. Both cars lost time in the twistier – by Spa standards – middle-sector with the pair of Astons seemingly trimmed for low-downforce, which could prove to be of benefit in the first and last sectors come the race.
Rounding out the top 20 were a pair of cars that received time penalties for missing their designated slot to leave the pits. 19th is the #563 FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo of Dennis Lind. The Dane’s 2m19.095sec would have been good enough for 12th, but his 2.302sec penalty pushed him back down the field.
Also being relegated down the field is the KCMG Nissan GT-R GT3 after Katsumasa Chiyo was penalised more than seven seconds for also leaving the pits too late.
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