Marvin Dienst topped Pre-Qualifying for the fourth round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup powered by AWS at the Nüburgring, as he paced the field in his Silver Cup Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3.
In what was a relatively quiet session compared to recent rounds of GT World Challenge Europe, the 90-minute session went off without much incident as a number of the teams aimed to complete long-runs and gather data without the drama that was seen at last weekend’s often bruising Sprint Cup round at Brands Hatch.
Adding some excitement to proceedings was a blistering lap from Dienst, in the car he shares with Óscar Tunjo and Paul Petit, as he was the only man to drop beneath the 1m55sec barrier with a 1m54.811sec lap just before halfway in the session.
Indeed, such was his speed that the next car – Luca Stolz in the #4 HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 – was 0.222sec down, with the German unable to improve on his early benchmark time which put him on top early in the running.
It could have been an all-Mercedes top three, as GetSpeed’s Jim Pla put in a great lap on just his third tour of Pre-Qualifying, to provisionally go third and fastest in the Pro-Am class.
Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t retain the position as Arthur Rougier ensured there was at least a little variety at the top of the times as he sneaked ahead by 0.013sec in his #114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Fifth went the way of the Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage, which had to have a last-minute driver change after Charlie Eastwood was forced to isolate because of a close contact testing positive for COVID-19. His place alongside Ahmad Al Harthy and Giacomo Petrobelli has been taken by Maxime Martin for the three-hour race.
The second of three Emil Frey Racing Lamborghinis was the last to finish with half-a-second of Dienst, as the #163 of Norbert Sielder, Giacomo Altoè and Albert Costa finished sixth with a 1m55.320sec.
Notable elsewhere in the order, the newly crowned Sprint Cup champions – and leaders of the overall GT World Challenge Europe standings – Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor, finished the session 15th in their Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3, just a second down on Dienst. They’re joined by Robin Frijns this weekend as Kelvin van der Linde is on DTM duty.
The Endurance Cup championship leaders – the #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen, Côme Ledogar and Alessandro Pier Guidi – finished 31st in a session that didn’t really suit the 488 GT3s. The fastest was Rinaldi Racing in ninth, with the next quickest of the Ferraris the sister Iron Lynx entry in 25th.
Final qualifying starts Sunday morning at 8:30 CEST, with the start of the 3-hour race scheduled for 14:45 local time.
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