Bortolotti takes record-breaking Blancpain pole at Silverstone

Track Action (Photo by Melissa Warren)

Track Action (Photo by Melissa Warren)Mirko Bortolotti smashed the Blancpain GT Series qualifying lap record at Silverstone to secure pole position for round two of the 2016 Endurance Cup.

Mirko Bortolotti, #16 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan: “I would say it was the lap of my life; really a perfect lap. There was no traffic, which is so important in this championship with so many cars on track at the same time. If you get a free spot you need to go for it as soon as you can, and I managed to do that. I think we have good long-run pace to challenge for victory this afternoon.”

Franck Perera lines up alongside the Italian having secured top spot in Pro-Am, with David Perel ending the session comfortably fastest in the Am Cup.

Franck Perera, #74 ISR Audi R8 LMS: “The car is pretty good and we did a decent job yesterday with the set-up. It is also another example of how far we have come as a team since Misano. I really like Silverstone; I was on pole here two years ago with the Porsche. I knew the first lap would be really important and although maybe I could have found a little more I’m still happy with the time. We have a good driver line-up and worked towards race set-up yesterday, so should be able to fight for the win.”

There were sunny skies and warm temperatures for the three 15-minute sessions, although the final grid positions were only decided in the last session.

Rowe Racing’s Maxime Martin and Philipp Eng respectively topped Q1 and Q2 for BMW, but it was Bortolotti who ‘produced the lap of his life’ to seal GRT Grasser Racing Team’s fourth Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup pole with the Lamborghini Huracan.

Bortolotti was assigned the final segment of qualifying after also topping yesterday’s afternoon session, and did not disappoint. The team’s pre-determined tyre-saving strategy saw him jump aboard with the #16 Huracan languishing at the bottom of the standings, before his subsequent 1m58.469s lap vaulted the car into pole position.

The time, 2.4s faster than the Series’ existing qualifying lap record, was also 0.268s quicker than Perera’s best, which had previously helped him hold provisional pole.

The Frenchman’s ISR Audi R8 starts second ahead of Alexander Sims’ Q1 and Q2 pace-setting #99 Rowe Racing BMW M6.
Alexander Sims, #99 Rowe Racing BMW M6: “I thought the lap time was pretty sensible; we didn’t have another half a second to beat Mirko, so full credit to him for that time. I thought we got everything out of the package this morning. It’s always better to start near the front but we’ve also got to keep pinching ourselves because it was only six weeks ago we lined up for the first race without Rowe having completed a full winter’s worth of testing. We are still getting to grips with the M6. Hopefully we can stay in the mix for podium places.”

HTP Motorsport’s Monza pole-winner Maxi Buhk starts fourth in his Mercedes-AMG, ahead of the crowd favourite Emil Frey-run Jaguar that secured its best-ever Blancpain GT Series qualifying result.

It also means that as many different manufacturers will start this afternoon’s race from the first five positions.

Track Action (Photo by Melissa Warren)Track Action (Photo by Melissa Warren)



The Pro-Am top-three was completed by Scuderia Praha’s Matteo Malucelli (Ferrari) and Oman Racing Team’s Jonny Adam (Aston Martin), who had earlier seen co-driver Devon Modell stop at Brooklands with only three wheels on his V12 Vantage. Both cars start inside the top-10.

David Perel proved the class of the Am Cup class aboard his Kessel Racing Ferrari 458, which lapped six tenths faster than Gilles Vannelet’s AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG. Team Parker Racing’s Chris Harris completed the class top-there aboard his Bentley Continental.

Track Action (Photo by Melissa Warren)



David Perel, #111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia: “I’m happy because this is my first time at Silverstone. It is very satisfying, especially as my first ever race in 2014 was with Mirko. It is great to share the press conference with him. The lap was ok but not ideal as I was blocked by the #1 Audi, but I’m still very proud to be on pole on my Blancpain GT Series debut. I have played Playstation my whole life and raced at Silverstone over and over again, but never thought I would be here on pole. It’s truly surreal!”

The race will start at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
Qualifying results
1 16 Rolf Ineichen, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Mirko Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 1:58.469 0
2 74 Pro-AM Cup Henry Hassid, Philippe Giauque, Franck Perera ISR Audi R8 LMS 1:58.737 0 0.268
3 99 Maxime Martin, Philipp Eng, Alexander Sims Rowe Racing BMW F13 M6 GT3 1:58.905 0 0.436
4 84 Dominik Baumann, Jazeman Jaafar, Maximilian Buhk HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 1:59.228 0 0.759
5 14 Lorenz Frey, Stephane Ortelli, Albert Costa Emil Frey Racing Emil Frey Jaguar G3 1:59.243 0 0.774
6 85 Luciano Bacheta, Indy Dontje, Clemens Schmid HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 1:59.473 0 1.004
7 7 Vincent Abril, Guy Smith, Steven Kane Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 1:59.514 0 1.045
8 3 Rodrigo Baptista, Sergio Jimenez, Filipe Albuquerque Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 1:59.642 0 1.173
9 34 Pro-AM Cup Jiri Pisarik, Matteo Malucelli Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 1:59.643 0 1.174
10 44 Pro-AM Cup Ahmad Al Harthy, Devon Modell, Jonathan Adam Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 1:59.714 0 1.245
11 1 Dries Vanthoor, Frederic Vervisch, Laurens Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 1:59.736 0 1.267
12 78 Pro-AM Cup Phil Keen, Leo Machitski, Marco Mapelli Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 1:59.770 0 1.301
13 2 Stuart Leonard, Michael Meadows, Robin Frijns Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 1:59.827 0 1.358
14 98 Stef Dusseldorp, Jens Klingmann, Nick Catsburg Rowe Racing BMW F13 M6 GT3 1:59.861 0 1.392
15 57 Hubert Haupt, Andreas Simonsen, Adam Christodoulou Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 1:59.934 0 1.465
16 100 Pro-AM Cup Louis Machiels, Max Van Splunteren, Jeroen Mul Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 1:59.984 0 1.515
17 56 Pro-AM Cup Oliver Morley, Miguel Toril, Maro Engel Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 1:59.984 0 1.515
18 58 Come Ledogar, Shane Van Gisbergen, Rob Bell Garage 59 McLaren 650 S GT3 2:00.026 0 1.557
19 26 Gregory Guilvert, Mike Parisy, Christopher Haase Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS 2:00.085 0 1.616
20 101 Fabio Babini, Daniel Zampieri, Patric Niederhauser Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:00.105 0 1.636
21 666 Pro-AM Cup Mark Poole, Richard Abra, Joe Osborne Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:00.133 0 1.664
22 50 Pasin Lathouras, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Michele Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 2:00.156 0 1.687
23 24 Pro-AM Cup Ian Loggie, Tom Onslow-Cole, Callum Macleod Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 2:00.166 0 1.697
24 25 Pro-AM Cup Gilles Lallement, Marc Rostan, Marco Bonanomi Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS 2:00.220 0 1.751
25 28 Antonio Garcia, Will Stevens, Nico Müller Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 2:00.252 0 1.783
26 11 Pro-AM Cup Michal Broniszewski, Alessandro Bonacini, Andrea Rizzoli Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 2:00.292 0 1.823
27 8 Maxime Soulet, Wolfgang Reip, Andy Soucek Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 2:00.298 0 1.829
28 53 Pro-AM Cup Ishikawa Motoaki, Lorenzo Bontempelli, Giancarlo Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 2:00.310 0 1.841
29 75 Marlon Stockinger, Filip Salaquarda, Frank Stippler ISR Audi R8 LMS 2:00.354 0 1.885
30 89 Pro-AM Cup Daniele Perfetti, Laurent Cazenave, Michael Lyons AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 2:00.377 0 1.908
31 19 Michele Beretta, Luca Stolz, Andrea Piccini GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:00.392 0 1.923
32 23 Lucas Ordonez, Mitsunori Takaboshi, Alex Buncombe Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 2:00.457 0 1.988
33 333 Marco Seefried, Rinat Salikhov, Norbert Siedler Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:00.516 0 2.047
34 66 Pro-AM Cup Alexander Mattschull, Steve Parrow, Daniel Keilwitz Black Pearl Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:00.639 0 2.170
35 22 Pro-AM Cup Matthew Simmons, Romain Sarazin, Sean Walkinshaw Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 2:00.854 0 2.385
36 15 Pro-AM Cup Max Koebolt, Giorgio Roda, Stefano Colombo BMW Team Italia BMW F13 M6 GT3 2:00.897 0 2.428
37 29 Jules Gounon, Daniel Cammish, Christopher Zöchling Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:00.919 0 2.450
38 4 Adrien De Leener, Peter Kox, Pierre Kaffer Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 2:00.974 0 2.505
39 90 Ezequiel Perez Companc, Alessandro Balzan, Raffaele Giammaria AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:01.008 0 2.539
40 111 AM Cup Bernard Delhez, Stephen Earle, David Perel Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:01.061 0 2.592
41 59 Alex Fontana, Struan Moore, Andrew Watson Garage 59 McLaren 650 S GT3 2:01.331 0 2.862
42 10 Pro-AM Cup Giovanni Berton, Matteo Beretta, Stefano Costantini Ombra Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:01.560 0 3.091
43 87 AM Cup Maurice Ricci, Jean-Luc Beaubelique, Gilles Vannelet AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 2:01.618 0 3.149
44 76 Pro-AM Cup Thierry Cornac, Raymond Narac, Maxime Jousse IMSA Performance Porsche 911 GT3 R 2:01.893 0 3.424
45 12 Pro-AM Cup Olivier Grotz, Karim Ojjeh, Julian Darras Boutsen Ginion Racing BMW F13 M6 GT3 2:01.906 0 3.437
46 30 AM Cup Derek Pierce, Chris Cooper, Chris Harris Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 2:01.955 0 3.486
47 49 AM Cup Garry Kondakov, Alexander Moiseev, Ricardo Ragazzi Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:02.390 0 3.921
48 888 AM Cup Vadim Glitin, Marco Zanuttini, Liam Talbot Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:03.300 0 4.831
49 488 AM Cup Stef Vancampenhoudt, Pierre Ehret Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 2:03.378 0 4.909
50 42 AM Cup Romano Ricci, Nyls Stievenart, Thomas Nicolle CMR with Sport Garage Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 2:04.009 0 5.540
51 69 AM Cup Miro Konopka, Andrzej Lewandowski, Teodor Myszkowski ARC Bratislava Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:05.865 0 7.396 By Melissa Warren

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