Grasser Racing has secured its second successive Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup pole position to set the #63 Lamborghini crew of Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Rolf Ineichen up perfectly for this afternoon's race at Silverstone.
The Austrian outfit led Q1 thanks to a stellar lap from Bortolotti – who headed the field by a full half-second in the #63 Huracan – and were not seriously troubled thereafter. Bortolotti's effort was crucial, as the Italian banked an early time in a session interrupted by red flags. Engelhart extended the gap in Q2 before Ineichen completed the job.
It continues a strong run of form from the Grasser squad, which also took pole position for the Monza season-opener and led the way during Saturday's pre-qualifying session at Silverstone.
"Setting that lap was crucial for us," confirmed Borolotti afterwards. "From the previous sessions, we noticed that the tyre degradation would be a key factor here. I managed to get a good lap, right on the edge, despite the traffic. I am also thankful to my team and teammates for the job they have done.
"Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks. I was on pole here in 2016 and on the front row in 2017, so it is definitely good to be back."
Second overall belonged to the leading Silver Cup crew, Attempto Racing's #55 Audi R8 LMS of Steijn Schothorst, Pieter Schothorst and Mattia Drudi. They emerged as challengers during Q2 and even closed the gap to the #63 Lamborghini during the final session as Drudi showed his pace aboard the R8 LMS. They were one of four Silver Cup entrants among the overall top-10 in another strong showing by the class leaders.
"The session went really well and we can be proud to end up on the front row," said Schothorst. "Despite the difficult conditions of the first qualifying, I managed to do a good lap. We are happy to take pole in Silver Cup but I am tempted to say that our aim will be the overall win this afternoon!"
The Pro-Am category was topped by the #97 Oman Racing by TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, which achieved the same qualifying result at Monza thanks to the efforts of Ahmad Al Harthy, Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood. The latter was particularly important to today's result, as the Irishman set the fifth-best time overall during his session to bag Pro-Am pole for the #97 car.
"We all did a great job," said Eastwood. "My lap was good. I did get caught up in some traffic, but it happened at an okay moment. Tyre management was key in the session and our pace throughout the weekend has been pretty good."
The Am Cup class was once again led by Barwell Motorsport. The British squad has won the previous three Endurance Cup races and now has back-to-back pole positions to celebrate as well. The crew of Leo Machitski, Adrian Amstutz and Miguel Ramos delivered another fine qualifying effort to lead their class, setting them up for a strong run on home turf.
"Both of my teammates did a fantastic job and I am really thankful for that," commented Machitski. "I was less fortunate with my lap; I got traffic and didn't set a good time straight out of the pits, which was quite frustrating."
At the other end of the grid there was considerably more frustration for a number of leading crews after the red flags during Q1 left them unable to set a lap time, consigning some potential winners to the rear of the grid. Among those affected were the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG (37th), both ROWE Racing Porsches (38th and 39th), the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG (40th), and the Monza-winning Dinamic Motorsport Porsche (46th).
Competitors now have just a few hours to make final preparations ahead of this afternoon's race. The green flag is set to fly at 15.00, kicking off a three-hour race at Silverstone. All of the action will be aired live on the Blancpain GT Series website and across its social media channels.