> AKKA ASP beats Audi Sport Team WRT’s Van der Linde to top spot
> Top-five and nine of the first 10 nominated to score Intercontinental GT Challenge points
> Result: Super Pole
Mercedes-AMG will start up front for the second Total 24 Hours of Spa in succession after AKKA ASP’s Raffaele Marciello posted the fastest time in this evening’s Super Pole session.
Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entries filled the top-five positions and nine of the first 10, while 16 of Super Pole’s 20 cars are nominated to score Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ points in the world’s biggest GT3 race, which gets underway at 15:30 local time tomorrow.
But there was no denying Marciello who set his best of 2m32.166s on a dark, greasy track to beat Thursday’s qualifying pace-setter Kelvin van der Linde (Audi Sport Team WRT) by 0.220s.
The Italian set off fourth from last and immediately bettered the time posted by fellow Mercedes-AMG factory ace Maro Engel. He was unable to improve on his second run but faced no immediate threat from either Frederic Vervisch or Patrick Pilet whose best efforts both fell short.
That left Van der Linde as the only remaining contender. The South African’s first attempt was two tenths shy – enough to replace Engel on the front row but still a little short of Marciello. A faster first sector soon followed but it was ultimately thwarted by a lairy ride over Pouhon’s curbs that cost the Audi time and, with it, a potential pole position.
Engel’s HRT-entered Mercedes-AMG finished 0.356s shy of Marciello, while Vervisch lines up fourth after dropping one place from where Audi Sport Team Attempto qualified.
Another of Audi’s factory entries featured in the top-five thanks to Christopher Haase (Sainteloc Racing) who held top spot throughout the middle portion of Super Pole after running much earlier in the session.
Porsche’s best-placed 911 isn’t an Intercontinental nomination. Instead, GPX Racing’s other Pro-crewed entry completed the top-six in the hands of Thomas Preining who beat Alessandro Pier Guidi’s AF Corse Ferrari and Andrea Caldarelli’s Orange 1 FFF Racing Lamborghini. The latter was also a major mover after qualifying 16th quickest.
Another Huracan, the Emil Frey example driven by Albert Costa, starts right behind its fellow factory crew, while 2019 race winner Kevin Estre (KCMG) is best-placed of Porsche’s Intercontinental enties in 10th.
Raffaele Marciello, #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP: “It was a good qualifying for us. It’s always good to start in the top-five so that you can stay away from trouble at the beginning of the race. We expect a dry start tomorrow, so we did not change the car too much. We slightly adapted the tyre pressures in order to find the sweet spot more easily. The absence of track limits does not change much for me; it’s the same for everyone. They said we could do it, so we did it.”
Watch free and unrestriced live coverage of the 72nd Total 24 Hours of Spa on SRO’s GT World Youtube channel this weekend.