The #70 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia is on pole at Monza for first round of Blancpain Endurance Series after a sunny and warm qualifying session at Monza today. Alesssandro Pier Giudi set the quickest time of 1m48.298s in the third segment of qualifying, finding a reasonably clear lap to seal a superb pole position to delight the tifosi at the home of Italian motorsport. Pier Giudi will share the SMP Racing Ferrari with Russian pairing Alexey Basov and Alexander Skryabin.
Lining up second on the grid will be the Prospeed Porsche of Marc Hennerici/Xavier Maassen and Maxime Soulet on a 1m48.521. Third in PRO class will be the defending champions Stephane Ortelli/Laurens Vanthoor and Rene Rast in the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra. Rast set a fastest time of 1m48.739s.
Sealing pole position in the PRO Am class was the PRO GT by Almeras Porsche 997 GT3 R which was driven by Franck Perera who set a best lap of 1m.48.627s. The former Toyota F1 test driver was on an even quicker lap but got badly held up at the Parabolica, much to his and his team’s frustration. Perera will share the Porsche with team mate Eric Dermont this afternoon. Second in PRO-AM was the #35 GT Academy RJN Nissan GT-R NISMO of Lucas Ordonez/Steve Doherty and Alex Buncombe. British star, Buncombe set a best time of 1m48.685s, revelling in the straight-line speed and excellent handling under braking of the Nissan.
The Gentlemen’s Trophy class fell to the #79 Kessel Racing Ferrari, which has set the pace for much of the weekend so far. Lorenzo Bontempelli set a time of 1m49.134s to head off the SOFREV ASP Ferrari of Jerome Policand who lines up second in the much expanded class this season. Third in the Gentleman’s Trophy was the sister SOFREV ASP Ferrari of the two Jean-Luc’s of Beaubelique and Blanchimain. They share the blood red Ferrari 458 Italia with Gabriel Balthazard.
Incidents in the session included a problem for the #15 Boutsen-Ginion which stopped at the Rettiflio chicane with a small fire and damage to the rear of the car. A frustrating weekend for the #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra entry did not get any better today as a gearbox problem stopped them at the pit exit. The team are working furiously to rectify the problem for this afternoon’s race which begins at 14.30cet.