Buhk sounds title warning with HTP Mercedes pace

Buhk sounds title warning with HTP Mercedes pace

HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 sounded a warning to its rivals for the Blancpain 1000 at Nürburgring this afternoon with a sensational time in the 90-minute session.

Maximilian Buhk, who is just two points behind the leading Kessel Racing drivers in the Pro Cup point’s standings, set a very rapid 1m55.297s lap to put clear distance between the #84 Mercedes and the opposition. The 20 year old gave himself and his team mates – Bernd Schneider and Maximilian Götz great momentum going in to the all-important qualifying session later this afternoon.

“The car felt nice and stable and I was able to set my time without too much fuss,” said Buhk. “The traffic is of course quite bad but I managed to thread my way through ok at the end of the session. We still have something in reserve and things look good at this stage but there is so much running still to get through, so we are cautiously optimistic.”

Taking second place in the 90mins Pre-Qualifying session was the Hexis-run McLaren MP4-12C. Portuguese racer, Alvaro Parente set a best of 1m55.802s. He shares the car with team mates Alexander Sims and Stef Dusseldorp once again this weekend where they will attempt to sign of 2013 with their first victory of the season.

The Russian Esta Motorsport team continued their good form with a 3rd placed best time set by Monza pole sitter – Alessandro Pier Guidi. However their session was not without drama as they were black flagged twice for track infringements and summoned to the race directors office.

Making it four different GT3 brands in the top four was the JRM Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 driven by Peter Dumbreck, Steven Kane and new recruit Kazuki Hoshino. It was the experienced Scot – Dumbreck who set the best time, showcasing some impressive pace for the distinctive Japanese supercar.

Apart from the HTP Motorsport Mercedes, those fighting for the title this weekend continued to find their pace and set-up in the Pre-Qualifying session. The #3 Marc VDS Racing Team pushed up in to the top ten with a 1m55.973s lap set by Maxime Martin to claim 7th in the Pro cup. The #13 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT driven Frank Stippler/Christopher Mies and Rene Rast placed 10th with Mies setting the quickest time to reinforce their quest to take the drivers and team’s crowns this weekend.

The #44 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia continued to be repaired after its morning accident but the team were hopeful that it would be out for the qualifying session later this afternoon.

Fastest in the Pro-Am category was once again the Team Ukraine Ferrari with Raffaele Giammaria continuing where he left off this morning with more quick laps. The Italian peaked with a 1m55.913s lap to delight his Ukranian team mates Andrii Lebed and Andrii Kruglik.

The 60-minute three part qualifying session including the superpole gets underway at 16.50cet. You can watch live at http://www.blancpain-endurance-series.com/pages/live