Raffaele Marciello put the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG on pole for this afternoon's Sprint Cup race at Zandvoort, emerging fastest from a tricky qualifying run at the Dutch track.
The session began on a damp circuit following heavy overnight rain, leaving teams to decide between Pirelli's slick tyre and the treaded compound. Initially the field was split, but it soon became clear that slicks were the way to go.
Marciello hit the front mid-way through the session and, while he was knocked off top spot as the times tumbled, the Italian driver had enough to reassert his dominance with a few minutes remaining. His benchmark 1m34.304s was almost a second shy of yesterday's pole lap, demonstrating the lack of grip drivers experienced this morning.
His closest contender was Dries Vanthoor (#32 Team WRT Audi) who got within 0.019s of the #88 Mercedes-AMG. As such, two of the fastest drivers in GT racing will share the front row for this afternoon's race.
Christian Engelhart demonstrated Porsche's prowess in low-grip situations by putting the #54 Dinamic Motorsport car third on the grid, his and the team's best starting spot of the Sprint Cup campaign. Albert Costa was fourth in the #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini, but there was disappointment for yesterday's winner Alex Fontana who could only qualify the sister #14 car 16th.
Pierre-Alexandre Jean continued to show well in the #107 CMR Bentley by taking Silver Cup pole and a fine fifth overall. The Frenchman was four places clear of his nearest class rival and ensured that the top-five featured as many different brands. Maro Engel (#6 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT) will line up sixth, followed by Jack Aitken (#114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini) and Christopher Haase (#25 Saintéloc Racing Audi).
Barwell Motorsport will start from Pro-Am pole thanks to an excellent effort from Henrique Chaves, who qualified the #77 Lamborghini 13th overall. He and teammate Miguel Ramos are well-placed to secure another class win following yesterday's triumph. The full result can be viewed here.
This afternoon's race will be the second of the Zandvoort weekend and the fourth of the 2021 Sprint Cup campaign. It is scheduled to begin at 14:30 CEST and, as ever, live coverage will air on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS website and across the series’ social media channels.