Orange1 FFF Racing took its third overall pole from four Endurance Cup races thanks to another unbeatable performance from the #63 Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli.
The Italian crew emerged on top after a highly competitive qualifying contest, securing pole by just 0.045s on average times across three 15-minute sessions. The same trio of cars occupied the top-three positions in Q1 and Q2, with Raffaele Marciello putting the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG on top in the opening run with a 1m54.686s. He was followed by the #4 HRT Mercedes-AMG of Maro Engel, while the #63 Lamborghini was third with Bortolotti at the wheel.
HRT moved to the front in Q2 thanks to a 1m54.637s from Luca Stolz. Incredibly, Mapelli matched this to the thousandth, keeping the FFF crew firmly in contention, while Felipe Fraga was third in the #88 Mercedes-AMG.
As such it all came down to Q3, with the leading trio separated by less than two hundredths on average times. On this occasion only Caldarelli was among the top-three in the session, posting the third fastest time behind Mathieu Jaminet (#22 GPX Martini Racing Porsche) and Albert Costa (#163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini).
This was enough to secure pole for Orange1 FFF Racing, the squad's third of the season after Monza and Circuit Paul Ricard. Notably, no crew has previously managed three overall poles in the same Endurance Cup campaign – and three is still another race to come at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
AKKA ASP will start second on the grid after Jules Gounon posted the fifth-best time in Q3. Jaminet's session-topping 1m54.284s helped the #22 Porsche to secure third on the grid, leapfrogging the #4 Mercedes-AMG after Nico Bastian could only manage 18th in Q3.
Emil Frey Racing locked out the third row. The #114 beat the #163 to fifth spot, aided by an excellent Q3 effort from Arthur Rougier. Last year's winner Dinamic Motorsport will line up seventh, followed by the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari and its sister #51 machine respectively. Crucially, the latter will start three places clear of title rival Team WRT with its #32 Audi.
The Silver Cup pole-winner completed the top-10. Grasser Racing was highly impressive with its #16 Lamborghini as Clemens Schmid, Kiko Galbiati and Tim Zimmerman secured their first pole of the campaign. They edged the #159 Garage 59 Aston Martin, which took 11th overall, while the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini will start third in class and 14th on the grid.
Sky Tempesta Racing earned a commanding Pro-Am pole with its #93 Ferrari. Jonathan Hui and Rino Mastronardi did enough during the opening two sessions to put the car well clear of its rivals and Chris Froggatt completed the job in Q3, adding another point to his class title challenge. The Tempesta car will line up 27th overall, four places clear of the #69 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG, while the #19 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini will start third in class.
The grid for this afternoon's race is down to 43 cars after JOTA was forced to withdraw its #38 McLaren. Ollie Wilkinson was unable to drive due to a knee injury, leaving the British outfit with no option but to sit out the Nürburgring contest. This afternoon's three-hour Endurance Cup round will go green at 14:45 and will be streamed live on the official series websites and social media platforms, as well as the GTWorld and GTWorld Français YouTube channels.