> 16 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entries progress to Friday’s top-20 Super Pole shootout
> Van der Linde sets fastest time of all in final wet session
> Results: Q1 | Q2 | Q3 | Q4 | Combinbed qualifying
Audi Sport Team WRT’s #31 R8 LMS GT3 will run last in Friday’s top-20 Super Pole shootout after topping Total 24 Hours of Spa qualifying this evening.
Kelvin van der Linde’s session best of 2m34.255s helped the entry he shares with Chris Mies and Dries Vanthoor post a 2m035.097s aggregate time that was 0.185s faster than GPX Racing’s Porsche shared by Patrick Pilet, Mathieu Jamient and long-time pacesetter Matt Campbell. Attempto’s
16 of the 20 Super Pole contenders, which also include Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari and Lamborghini - are nominated to score Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ points this weekend.
The four 15-minute sessions took place in the sort of conditions for which Spa is revered and respected in equal measure. Rain began falling shortly before qualifying began at 18.55, which - combined with the rapid onset of darkness - created a daunting task for the drivers waiting to take to the track.
They handled the challenge with tremendous aplomb. Indeed, all four sessions were completed without interruption, despite upwards of 50 cars taking part on a treacherous circuit.
The #31 WRT crew began with home favourite Vanthoor posting the second-fastest lap in his segment, after which Mies and then Van der Linde both set the quickest times of their respective sessions.
This gave the Audi Sport Team WRT trio an advantage of 0.185s over the #12 GPX Racing Porsche of Matt Campbell, Patrick Pilet and Mathieu Jaminet. Indeed, Campbell was the only man to topple the WRT squad, the Australian ace beating Vanthoor by an impressive 0.725s in Q2 - the first to feature crews comprising three drivers.
In what was a fantastic night for Porsche, the #12 GPX Racing crew was the best of seven 911 GT3 R runners to earn a Super Pole spot. Audi will have five representatives, while Mercedes-AMG (three cars), Ferrari (three cars) and Lamborghini (two cars) will also have a shot at the front row of the grid tomorrow evening.
One of them will feature last year’s pole-winner, Maro Engel, whose factory HRT Mercedes-AMG ended the evening fifth behind AKKA ASP’s similar works-backed machine and Attempto’s Pro-crewed Audi.
AF Corse’s #51 488 GT3, featuring the talents of three FIA WEC drivers, wound best of Ferrari’s contingent in sixth, while FFF Racing’s all-Pro Lamborghini will be the fifth car to run after posting the 16th quickest aggregated time.
Elsewhere, AKKA ASP’s #89 Mercedes-AMG is guaranteed Silver Cup pole position after Alex Fontana, Lucas Lergent and Benjamin Hites produced a fine performance to book their place among the Super Pole contenders. Their average time was the 17th best overall, placing them ahead of several highly rated crews.
Among those to miss out was Spa's record wins holder, BMW, whose pair of Walkenhorst Motorsport-run M6 GT3s start 24th and 32nd on Saturday afternoon. K-PAX Racing's #3 Bentley, which features Intercontinental Drivers’ Championship leaders Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soulet, lines-up 26th, and Team Honda Racing’s NSX starts 29th.
Super Pole will take place tomorrow at 18.20, just as darkness is falling over Spa-Francorchamps. Each crew will nominate just one driver who will complete two flying laps of the 7km circuit. They will run in reserve order to their finishing positions in tonight's session, with Audi Sport Team WRT taking to the track last in the battle for top spot. All of the action will be streamed live on the Total 24 Hours of Spa website, the event's official Facebook page and the GT World YouTube channel.
Kelvin van der Linde (#31 Audi Sport Team WRT): “All credit it to the team, for after pre-qualifying we were not so happy with the set-up of the car. That was obviously in the dry, and this was in the wet, so that seems to suit our car. Now we’re going to start the raindance for SuperPole, I’m really excited for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend.”