The qualifying session for the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000 km turned out to be a very close fought affair. In the end Yelmer Buurman (#4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon) snatched pole position away from Davide Rigon in the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari, by a mere 0.031 of a second. Alessandro Pier Guidi put the #50 Spirit of Race Ferrari in third, a tenth of a second down. Fastest in the Pro-Am Cup was Matteo Cressoni (#11 Kessel Racing Ferrari), with Rino Mastronardi (#488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari) being the quickest of the Am Cup drivers.
Just over 30°C ambient temperature, 40°C track temperature: the qualifying session for the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000 km, sixth round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series, was run in the same hot conditions the drivers and teams have experienced since the start of the weekend. As always the final fifteen minutes of qualifying were crucial, with Franck Perera – second in the driver standings – setting a first reference time.
His 1’57.489 was quickly improved upon however, with Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Yelmer Buurman all occupying top spot at one moment. When the chequered flag came down, Davide Rigon and his #72 SMP Racing Ferrari had provisional pole, but an inspired final lap by Buurman gave the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon car its first pole position.
In the Pro-Am Cup it looked like Toni Vilander in the #37 BBT Ferrari could claim pole position of the series’ newcomers, but Matteo Cressoni just snatched class pole – and 14th overall – by the smallest of margins, 0.009 of a second to be precise. The first eight cars in the Pro-Am Cup – of five different manufacturers – were only separated by four tenths of a second, which promises a lot for this evening’s race.
In the Am Cup David Perel (#888 Kessel Racing Ferrari) looked set to take pole, but his lap time was cancelled for a track limit infringement. The South African could not repeat his performance a second time, and with Rino Mastronardi setting a solid lap time in the #488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari, the green Ferrari will be first of the Am Cup cars on this afternoon’s grid.
The Circuit Paul Ricard 1000 km starts at 18.00 CEST and will be streamed live on the official Blancpain GT Series website.