Grasser Racing Lamborghini fastest in 24 Hours of Spa Superpole

24 Hours of Spa - Pole position No163 - Photo by Melissa Warren

The #163 Grasser Racing Lamborghini will start the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa from the best seat in the house after Franck Perera broke the 16-year-old qualifying record to become the fastest man of the GT era.

The thrilling Superpole shootout involves one driver representing each of the fastest 20 cars from Thursday’s Qualifying session ran in reverse order to decide the grid for this weekend’s race. But while the favourites were scheduled to run late, there was an early contender for glory.

Rolling off second, Lorenzo Patrese in the #88 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi set an early benchmark, posting an exceptional time of 2m14.006. Only a month shy of his 19th birthday, the young Italian remained out front while a succession of the world’s fastest GT drivers tried in vain to better his lap.

The breakthrough finally came when the #48 Mercedes-AMG Team Mann-Filter entry of Lucas Auer hooked up all three sectors to set a 2m13.754s, throwing down the gauntlet that appeared difficult to beat. The penultimate contender Alessio Rovera aboard the #51 AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari bettered Patrese for second, but the Italian could not match Auer on his first lap.

Perera in the #163 was now on-track, getting within 0.060s of Auer’s time on his first run. Neither the #48 Mercedes-AMG nor the #51 Ferrari were able to improve on their second laps.

One of the most experienced drivers on the grid, Perera dug deep for one final shot. The result was a spectacularly quick time of 2m13.718s, the fastest qualifying time set since the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa became a GT race in 2001. Beating Auer by just 0.036s, Perera clinched a very special pole position. 

The #48 Mercedes-AMG will start second, followed by the #51 Ferrari with the #88 Audi in fourth. Jules Gounon completed the top-five aboard the #2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed entry.

The Bronze Cup pole-sitter also qualified strongly in the overall top 10. Having clinched top spot in its class yesterday, the #188 Garage 59 McLaren carried its pace forwards as Marvin Kirchhöfer took a strong ninth spot overall. Porsche are represented in the top 10, while the best Aston Martin will start 12th and the quickest BMW secured 15th on the grid. Ford was the only brand absent from Superpole, with its lone entry qualifying 31st.

A number of cars received penalties following the session for not meeting their target out-lap time. In each case, the margin by which they missed the target was added to their best time in Superpole. However, none were among the fastest 10 qualifiers, resulting in only small changes to the final order. By Melissa Warren

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