- Perfect qualifying result for AKKA ASP with #88 Mercedes-AMG
- JOTA McLaren loses opening race pole following two-place grid penalty for Barnicoat
- Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini and Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG share Silver Cup poles
- Barwell Motorsport sweeps Pro-Am qualifying with #77 Lamborghini
AKKA ASP will start both of tomorrow’s Sprint Cup races at Brands Hatch from pole position after Timur Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello topped their respective qualifying sessions at the British circuit.
Boguslavskiy initially secured second on the grid, 0.064s shy of Ben Barnicoat (#38 JOTA McLaren), before the British driver was demoted two places for impeding rival cars. This promoted the Russian to his first overall pole in the Sprint Cup, one place ahead of title rival Charles Weerts (#32 Team WRT Audi), setting up a high-stakes dash to turn 1 in tomorrow’s opening contest.
Despite his penalty, Barnicoat’s third-place grid slot still matches the best of the season for the #38 McLaren. The Brit will share the second row with Luca Stolz (#6 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT), who had earlier topped pre-qualifying but could not quite match that performance at the crucial moment.
Ricardo Feller bagged fifth overall and Silver Cup pole with a late flyer in the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini. Indeed, the Swiss pilot may have climbed even further up the 28-car grid had he not encountered traffic on his best lap. Crucially, however, it was enough to beat class rival Pierre Alexandre Jean in the #108 CMR Bentley by 0.093s.
Miguel Ramos gave Barwell Motorsport pole in Pro-Am with a 1m25.357s at the wheel of the #77 Lamborghini. The experienced Portuguese driver was comfortably the quickest man in his class, circulating seven tenths quicker than the next best Pro-Am runner.
Marciello wasted no time in asserting his dominance in the second qualifying session, posting a 1m23.660s in the #88 Mercedes-AMG shortly before rain began to fall on the British circuit. Though by no means heavy, it seemed to be enough to prevent any improvements, particularly on Marciello's impressive benchmark.
But that did not stop several teams from trying. While the Italian remained in the pits with crew-mate Boguslavskiy, a flurry of cars headed out on-track for the final minutes of the session. As purple sectors began to appear on the timing screens the tension in the AKKA ASP garage visibly increased.
The first to go close was Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Team WRT Audi, whose 1m23.865s was just a tenth shy of Marciello. Maro Engel then went even faster in the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT machine, but the German's lap was 0.091s shy of Marciello's. After a tense wait, the AKKA ASP squad had pole.
Vanthoor will start third, while Jules Gounon was fourth quickest in the #89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG, 0.003s shy of the #32 Audi. Fifth overall and Silver Cup pole belonged to the #7 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG of Oscar Tunjo, who had been second only to Marciello when the rain began to fall. Class rivals Ryuichiro Tomita (#31 Team WRT Audi) and Jim Pla (#87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) were next on the timing screen.
Henrique Chaves was ninth overall to secure a sweep of Pro-Am poles for the #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini, adding another crucial bonus point to his squad's title challenge. He was made to sweat by a late charge from Jonny Adam (#188 Garage 59 Aston Martin), but ultimately the Portuguese racer had a little over a tenth in hand over his class rival.
Today’s qualifying sessions set the grid for a pair of 60-minute races, which will take place on a packed Sunday at Brands Hatch. Boguslavskiy will lead the field to the green flag for the opening contest at 11:00, while the second outing will begin with Marciello on pole at 15:45. Live coverage will be broadcast live on the official Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS website and Facebook pages, as well as the GTWorld and GTWorld Français YouTube channel.