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Pre-Qualifying Nürburgring : Hubert Haupt Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG driver set the fastest time

19 September 2015

Shortly after the green flag waved for the beginning of the Pre-Qualification session, the rain began to fall sparking a return to the pits en masse for a change of tyres, with cars on slick tyres slipping and sliding on the wet track trying to get back to the pits. The heavy rain contributed to an early red flag incident for Duncan Cameron, #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, who left the track at Turn 13 and was embedded deep in the gravel trap. 

The rain continued to fall for another 20 minutes affecting visibility that meant headlights were on and slow lap times. Yet by half way through the session a clear dry line had begun to emerge and thoughts of a slick tyre gamble began to filter through the pit lane. Andy Soucek, #31 Bentley Team M-Sport, was the first of the drivers to move onto slick tyres and he set the fastest second and third sector times on his way to the top of the leader board with a lap time of 2:06.062

Also an early mover on to slick tyres, Hubert Haupt in the #21 Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 improved his personal best by more than two seconds to be the first driver go into the 2m 4sec bracket, and he took top spot. This was subsequently challenged by Frederic Vervisch, #75 ISR Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra, whose 2:04.392 was temporarily the fastest time before Haupt replied, bettering his previous best by half a second with a 2:03.960 that would end up being the best time of the session.

Contact between the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Matt Griffin and Leo Matchitski’s #78 Team Russia by Barwell BMW Z4 GT3 ended Pre-Qualifying Practice 20 minutes early. A tap in the rear from the BMW caused the Ferrari to spin going into Turn 1, bringing out a Red Flag whilst the barriers are inspected for repair. The Stewards subsequently decided that the barriers were sufficiently damaged to prevent a quick enough repair and called proceeding to a halt.

A notice posted by the stewards informed teams that should the early start to Qualifying tomorrow, the Q1 begins at 08.30 CET, bring the heavy fog forecasted and the cancellation of the sessions; then Pre-Qualification Practice times would decide the grid order. A further paragraph in the notice explained that if any driver hadn’t posted a pre-qualifying time then their Free Practice 1 time would be used.