Qualifying ace Maro Engel scored his third pole position in five years on Friday evening for the ADAC 24h Rennen at the Nürburgring. The driver of the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT obliterated the competition with a time of 8:57.884 set in cold and damp conditions. Despite a second-lap charge by Luca Ludwig in the #26 Octane126 Ferrari 488 GT3, Engel was almost five seconds quicker.
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Top Qualifying 1
After a wet final third qualifying session where times could not be improved due to the weather conditions, 17 cars went into the Top Qualifying 1 shoot-out to score the last remaining tickets for the Top Qualifying 2 shoot-out where the first 17 positions on the grid would be decided.
With cars starting their two timed laps one by one from the grid, Mercedes-AMG star Maro Engel immediately set the fastest time on his first lap to secure a place for the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT in the final shoot-out, with Dennis Olsen, driving the #18 KCMG Porsche 991.2 GT3R, following Engel into the next session. Nordschleife specialist Frank Stippler also moved up to the qualifying finale for a shot at pole in the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3. More surprising was Daniel Juncadella’s third place aboard the #22 10Q Racing Team Hauer & Zabel Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the team’s first Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Top Qualifying 2
Dennis Olsen led the field into the final Top Qualifying on a cold and damp Nürburgring. His attempt ended before it began, however, when on his warm-up lap the #18 Porsche stopped with a technical problem at Kallenhard.
Engel continued his superb form into the second session, ending his opening lap in 9:01.608. While he went on his way to improve on his second lap, behind him on the track Luca Ludwig began pushing back, snatching up the fastest sector times on the first halve of the lap. Engel managed to turn it back around in the second halve of the lap as he improved his time to a stunning 8:57.884 at the finish line.
While eventually not fast enough for pole, Ludwig crossed the line in the #26 Octane126 Ferrari 488 GT3 to claim a front-row start amongst a Mercedes-AMG-filled front two rows with a time of 9:02.814. Despite Ludwig’s pace, he was still almost five seconds off of Engel’s time.
Starting the 24 Hours from third is the #9 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed. Raffaele Marciello jumped up one position on his final lap, pipping Juncadella to fourth.
Nick Yelloly, who was ahead of the field after Olsen came to a standstill, managed fifth place in the #99 Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 starting the race alongside brand compatriot Augusto Farfus in the #42 BMW Team Schnitzer.
The top ten is completed by the #8 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Matthieu Vaxivière) in seventh, #98 Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 (Marco Wittmann) in eight, #101 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (Christian Krognes) in ninth and in tenth the #10 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Maxime Soulet).
Watch the complete 2020 Nürburgring 24 Hours on Saturday and Sunday LIVE on GT REPORT.
Photos by Frozenspeed and JP Wagner.
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