For the first time since the Total 24 Hours of Spa have been part of the Blancpain GT Series, a Ferrari will start from pole position. James Calado clocked a 2’17.390, the fastest-ever lap by a GT3 car on the Spa track, at the wheel of the #55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari.
James Calado #55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari, said: “I am really happy with this pole position, although I fully realise that it is not really important in a 24-hour-race. The car felt great, but since I made a small mistake in the final corner, I did not think it would be enough. I’ll take it, though!”
Mirko Bortolotti (#63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini) joins Calado on the front row. Mirko Bortolotti #63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, said: “Yesterday was a bit hectic, and we left it very late to get into the top-20 for Superpole. Today went a lot better, my lap was fully committed, and I though it would be enough for pole position. James was just a fraction quicker, so congratulations to him.”
Belgian drivers Frédéric Vervisch (#2 Audi Sport Team WRT R8) and Laurens Vanthoor (#117 KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche) share the second row.
Rainclouds threatened at the start of the Superpole, but the track remained dry for the whole of the session. The times of the warm-up – held just half an hour earlier – indicated that the pole position time of the 69th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa could possibly be the fastest lap ever.
This was quickly confirmed by René Rast (#1 Audi Sport Team WRT R8) and Laurens Vanthoor in the KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche, who both broke the 2’18-barrier. The Belgian’s time was 0.052 quicker than Rast’s, but the German did not stay second for long.
Jonny Adam created a surprise by clocking exactly the same time as Laurens Vanthoor, driving the #97 Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin. However, their 2’17.674 was not enough to start from the front row.
First Mirko Bortolotti went quicker, followed in quick succession by James Calado and Fred Vervisch. Calado’s time turned out to be fast enough to give Ferrari its first pole position since the Total 24 Hours of Spa became part of the Blancpain GT Series.
Fred Vervisch #2 Audi Sport Team WRT R8, said: “It feels great to be among the frontrunners, especially considering the high level of the drivers here. But I know that a good starting position does not change a lot for the race. It is still a bit more comfortable to start at the front, though.”
After the session, the stewards of the meeting penalised Jonny Adam for having started outside his allocated time window, deleting his fastest lap time. The Aston driver dropped to seventh, but held on to pole in the Pro-Am Cup.
Jonny Adam #97 Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin, 1st Pro-Am Cup, said: “I wanted to get up the grid as high as possible, to prove that our Aston is still a very competitive car. The fact that we have more than a dozen cars between ourselves and the next car in Pro-Am will make our life a bit easier in the early hours, but it will still be a tough race.”
Super Pole Classification
1 55 Giancarlo Fisichella, Marco Cioci Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 2:17.390 0
2 63 Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2:17.447 0 0.057
3 2 Connor de Philippi, Christopher Mies Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 2:17.630 0 0.240
4 117 Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen Porsche 991 GT3 R 2:17.674 0 0.284
5 1 Antonio Garcia, Nico Müller Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 2:17.726 0 0.336
6 84 Jimmy Eriksson, Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 2:17.859 0 0.469
7 97 Pro-AM Cup Ahmad Al Harthy, Salih Yoluc Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin V12 GT3 2:17.901 0 0.511
8 14 Lorenz Frey, Stephane Ortelli Emil Frey Jaguar Racing Emil Frey Jaguar G3 2:18.012 0 0.622
9 75 Filipe Albuquerque, Clemens Schmid ISR Audi R8 LMS 2:18.047 0 0.657
10 23 Lucas Ordonez, Alex Buncombe Motul Team RJN Nissan Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 2:18.084 0 0.694
11 99 Philipp Eng, Maxime Martin ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 2:18.127 0 0.737
12 76 Pierre Kaffer, Frank Stippler Audi R8 LMS 2:18.164 0 0.774
13 90 Edoardo Mortara, Michael Meadows Akka ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 2:18.298 0 0.908
14 8 Maxime Soulet, Vincent Abril Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 2:18.303 0 0.913
15 50 Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 2:18.330 0 0.940
16 9 Christer Jöns, Jordan Pepper Bentley Continental GT3 2:18.333 0 0.943
17 7 Guy Smith, Oliver Jarvis Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 2:18.347 0 0.957
18 17 Stuart Leonard, Jake Dennis Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 2:18.414 0 1.024
19 25 Christopher Haase, Jules Gounon Audi Sport Team Sainteloc Audi R8 LMS 2:18.783 0 1.393
20 88 Felix Serralles, Daniel Juncadella Akka ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 2:18.830 0 1.440 By Melissa Warren