> Black Falcon edge Team WRT’s #2 Audi by 0.081s
> Buurman sets fastest time of the evening
> Top-20 Super Pole contenders covered by 0.884s
> Result: 24 Hours of Spa Qualifying
Yelmer Buurman lead Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon to the fastest average time in this evening’s Total 24 Hours of Spa qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s top-20 Super Pole shootout, which will feature 13 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entries.
The Dutchman set the quickest time of the evening - 2m19.231s - in the third 15-minute session to help the #4 Mercedes-AMG he shares with Maro Engel and Luca Stolz beat Audi Sport Team WRT’s #2 entry by 0.081s. GruppeM Racing’s AMG, featuring Drivers’ Championship leaders Maxi Buhk and Maxi Goetz, qualified third.
#IntGTC full-season manufacturers Porsche, Ferrari and Nissan also made the cut, while Bentley missed out by an agonising 0.006s. Less than 0.9s covered the overall top-20.
Many of the 24 Pro entries were compromised in the second session by a red flag, which interrupted proceedings before many teams were able to set a competitive lap time.
Indeed, the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG found itself only fifth in the second session after Engel lapped 0.8s shy of Dries Vanthoor. Buurman’s time then edged the crew to within 0.1s of the Audi before Stolz completed the job in Q4. As a result, one of the team's trio will run last in tomorrow’s top-20 shootout.
Vanthoor and his co-drivers Alex Riberas and Frank Stippler out-qualified GruppeM’s Mercedes-AMG by half-a-tenth despite Goetz topping Q4, while California 8 Hours winner Nick Foster and his HubAuto Corsa co-drivers Daniel Serra and Nick Cassidy finished four tenths shy of the benchmark average in their Ferrari.
Non-#IntGTC entries filled positions four-to-seven before Strakka’s Mercedes-AMG, KUS Team75 Bernhard’s Porsche and WRT’s #1 Audi completed the top-10.
Nissan will also feature in tomorrow’s Super Pole thanks to a supremely consistent run from KCMG’s Katsumasa Chiyo, Tsugio Matsuda and Josh Burdon who all posted 2m20.2s laps.
But there was disappointment for Bentley whose best-placed Continental finished 21st by an average of 0.006s. Its loss was Porsche’s gain - they are the only manufacturer with a full complement of four #IntGTC entries in tomorrow’s shootout.
Further back, BMW endured a session to forget after the best of their Intercontinental entries - Team Schnitzer - qualified 31st, while Honda Team Motul’s NSX starts two places further back. There was also disappointment for Drivers' Championship leader Raffaele Marciello who lines up 27th in Team AKKA ASP's Mercedes-AMG.
Yelmer Buurman, #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon: “The most difficult part was getting a clean lap. With 72 cars on-track it's a challenge. The team did a great job in sending me out at the right time and from that moment it was all about doing what I love: pushing as hard as possible. My team-mates also did a fantastic job. Maro had some difficulties because of a red flag, but he still set a great time. Super Pole will require different tactics though. Qualifying is decided by an average time, so it's all about getting a good lap in without risking everything. Super Pole is different: you have to go and look for that last tenth, push 100 percent and basically do everything you can to try and get pole.”
Super Pole begins at 19:05 CEST on Friday. Watch it live right here on IntercontinentalGTChallenge.com.