Mercedes dominate the grid for Spa 24

Track action (Photo by Melissa Warren)

Track action (Photo by Melissa Warren)Pole position for the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa was set by Clemens Schmid, in the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG during Superpole.

After setting pole Clemens Schmid said: “I out-braked myself at the Bus Stop on lap one, which was a wake-up call for the second lap! I made a small mistake through Pouhon but was really happy with the rest. However, it is a long race; we still have 24 hours to go.”

The 30 minute session would be a close fought battle with the 20 cars being separated by only eight tenths in combined qualifying and each car only getting two flying laps.

Maro Engel in the #00 AMG-Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG was the first to beat Thursday evening’s quickest time with a 2m18.223s lap.

However that was not enough to claim pole position, as Clemens Schmid beat last year’s pole time with a time of 2m18.025s. Almost immediately, Felix Rosenqvist, a Spa 24 rookie, lapped within 0.009s of Schmid’s time.

After the session Felix Rosenquist said: “I think a qualifying format like the Superpole shootout is my kind of thing and really fun. It was a dream come true, actually! My run was a bit similar to Clemens’ in that I tried to set my fastest on the first lap so worked the tyres very hard during the out-lap.
However, I made a big mistake at the chicane and had to go again. It is great for my team to be pushing at the front in their first year.”

Dani Juncadella (#56 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG), Maxi Götz (#86 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG) and Shane Van Gisbergen (#58 Garage 59 McLaren) were the last three drivers on track.

Juncadella was about to set a quick lap time but was distracted by a car on its slowing down lap and he missed his braking point in the final chicane.

Then, the fastest man from Thursday’s qualifying, Shane Van Gisbergen stopped on track bringing out yellow flags. That impacted most on Maxi Götz whose final flying lap, which would have comfortably taken pole position, was subsequently cancelled as a result of the caution.

As a result of this he rounds out a top-six solely comprising Mercedes-AMG machines.

Even with the distraction, Dani Juncadella’s time was enough to take the Pro-Am pole.

Post session Juncadella said: “You do not expect to find a car at the last corner during a Superpole session. I was not blocked but when you are on a fast lap and flat-out something like that makes a difference and I out-braked myself. It looked like a really good lap because I had the reference from yesterday.”

Track action (Photo by Melissa Warren) Track action (Photo by Melissa Warren) Track action (Photo by Melissa Warren) Track action (Photo by Melissa Warren)




The revised top 20 is as follows:

1 #85 HTP Mercedes (Schmid)
2 #88 AKKA Mercedes (Rosenqvist)

3 #00 Black Falcon Mercedes (Engel)
4 #84 HTP Mercedes (Buhk)

5 #56 Black Falcon Mercedes (Juncadella)*
6 #86 HTP Mercedes (Goetz – time deleted)

7 #28 WRT Audi (Vanthoor)
8 #74 ISR Audi (Perera)*

9 #16 GRT Lamborghini (Bortolotti)
10 #8 M-Sport Bentley (Soulet)

11 #50 AF Corse Ferrari (Pier Guidi)
12 #26 Sainteloc Audi (Haase)

13 #2 WRT Audi (Frijns)
14 #6 Phoenix Audi (Mies)

15 #98 ROWE BMW (Catsburg)
16 #24 Parker Bentley (MacLeod)*

17 #666 Barwell Lamborghini (Keen)*
18 #7 M-Sport Bentley (Kane)

19 #99 ROWE BMW (Sims)
20 #58 Garage 59 McLaren (van Gisbergen – no time)

* = Pro-Am entry

Some cars are still under investigation which might change the grid positions for the race.  By Melissa Warren

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