After a hectic qualifying session for the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup finale at the Nürburgring Dries Vanthoor took his second consecutive pole position of the season. The young Belgian edges one point closer to the other title contenders, some of which did not have the best of qualifying sessions.
Sunny conditions at the Nürburgring on Saturday morning, but the asphalt of the Eifel was still damp when Q1 got underway. It was soon clear that it would be up to the drivers competing in Q2 to set a lap time that would bring them into Q3. The second qualifying part proved to be a slightly frenetic with two red flag interruptions. Some drivers saw their fastest lap aborted twice, which is why they were unable to qualify for the final part of qualifying.
Among them several title contenders: the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart will start the qualifying race from 18th, the #3 Team WRT Audi of Pieter Schothorst and Jake Dennis from 21st and the #7 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3 of Steven Kane and Vincent Abril from 33rd.
In Q3 Dries Vanthoor was the first driver to break the 1’54-barrier, clocking 1’53.532. The youngest of the Vanthoor brothers shaved off another tenth of a second in his next fast lap, and the 1’53.449 was enough for his second consecutive pole position. Together with Marcel Fässler Vanthoor has now put the #5 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 LMS on top of the timing sheets since the first free practice session at the previous round at the Hungaroring.
Rob Bell put the #59 Strakka Racing McLaren alongside the Audi on the front row for this afternoon’s qualifying race. The reigning Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup champion was only a mere 0.122 of a second slower than Vanthoor. Andrea Caldarelli proved to best of the GRT Grasser Racing Team drivers, clocking the third time with the #19 Lamborghini.
The leaders in the Sprint Cup driver standings, Franck Perera and Maxi Buhk, put their #84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport car on the fourth row, next to the #17 Team WRT Audi of Robin Frijns and Stuart Leonard. The #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 LMS of Will Stevens and Markus Winkelhock, fifth in the driver standings, will start from 15th.
In the Pro-Am Cup Daniel Keilwitz dominated qualifying, topping the overall timing sheets at several occasions. The driver of the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 eventually ended up in fifth overall, 22 positions ahead of their main rivals for the Pro-Am title in the #39 Kessel Racing TP12 Ferrari.
Max Van Splunteren drove the #66 Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to its first pole position in the Silver Cup, narrowly beating Fabrizio Crestani in the #27 Orange 1 Team Lazarus Lamborghini. The pole in the Am Cup went to newly crowned champion David Perel, who qualified his #488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari in 22nd overall.
The qualifying race at the Nürburgring will start at 14.00 CEST and will be streamed live on www.blancpain-gt-series.com, the GT World YouTube-page and the Blancpain GT Series Facebook-page.