The #98 ROWE Racing Porsche will start today's Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup finale from pole position following a closely-fought qualifying session that could have major implications for the championship battle.
Driven by Romain Dumas, Sven Muller and Mathieu Jaminet, the German squad's 911 GT3 R did not top any of the three qualifying segments, posting the seventh best time in Q1 before going second fastest in each of the next two sessions. This consistency was crucial to securing pole on the combined average, with the three drivers producing a 1m45.032s between them.
The Porsche was closely followed by the two overall Blancpain GT Series title contenders: the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG and the #563 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini. The Black Falcon car was 0.054s shy of pole, while the FFF crew with a mere 0.001s behind their championship rivals.
Both of these crews are also in contention for the Endurance Cup title and will fancy their chances a little more after the points-leading #72 SMP Racing Ferrari qualified down in 13th spot.
None of the Ferrari's three drivers were able to find a clean lap during qualifying, leaving Miguel Molina, Mikhail Aleshin and Davide Rigon with work to do in this afternoon's race. The #72 car must finish at least eighth to be absolutely sure of the title. However, Black Falcon or FFF need to win if they are to overcome the Russian-backed squad's 22-point advantage.
The top-six was completed by the #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in fourth, the #519 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini in fifth, and the #76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin in sixth. The overall fastest lap of the session was set by Raffaele Marciello, who posted a 1m44.598s in Q1. The #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG driver's teammates could not replicate his pace, however, and the car will start from eighth on the grid this afternoon.
Silver Cup pole went to the 2019 Endurance Cup champions, AKKA ASP Team, with their #90 Mercedes-AMG driven by Nico Bastian, Felipe Fraga and Timur Boguslavisky. The crew will seek their third win of the season from 10th on the overall grid.
The Am Cup pole-sitter produced a superb qualifying effort, with the #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini placing 29th overall and ahead of the entire Pro-Am class. The crew has already secured its title and, like the Silver leaders, will look to complete the season in style.
The #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG will lead the Pro-Am class from 31st on the grid, with Jim Pla producing a particularly strong showing. The French ace will chase the Blancpain GT Series title today and holds the advantage over the rival #52 AF Corse Ferrari. The #97 Oman Racing by TF Sport Aston Martin crew, who currently lead the Endurance Cup championship, will start sixth in class.
The 2019 Blancpain GT Series will conclude this afternoon with a three-hour race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. This gets underway at 15.00 and will be streamed live on the series website and across its social media channels.
> Qualifying Results