· WTM Racing on pole for first 24H SERIES race with its new Ferrari 296 GT3.
· Haas RT pips Kessel Racing for front row start by 0.068s in closing moments.
· Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors on pole in 992; RPM Racing takes 992-AM by 0.036s.
· Spin denies Vortex V8 GTX pole; RD Signs - Siauliai racing team on top spot.
· GT4 Teams’ title protagonists Buggyra ZM Racing and Atlas BX Motorsport duke it out for class pole position.
· 6H Qualifying Race set to begin at 13.30 hrs local time this afternoon (Friday 7 July)
ESTORIL (7 July, 2023) – WTM by Rinaldi Racing will start this afternoon’s 6H Qualifying Race from pole position after a determined performance for its new Ferrari 296 GT3 this morning.
The returning WTM Racing (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Torsten Kratz), supported this weekend by Ferrari specialist Rinaldi Racing, ended two of this morning’s three 15-minute qualifying sessions with the fastest lap, and was bested only in Q3 by the similarly Ferrari-powered Kessel Racing (#8, Alessandro Cutrera / Marco Talarico / Marco Frezza / David Fumanelli / L.M.D.V.) and the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II of Hankook 12H MUGELLO winner, Haas RT (#21, Frédéric Vervisch / Mathieu Detry / Gregory Servais).
Kratz, Krumbach and Leonard Weiss’ collective average best – a 1m 37.359s – was nevertheless still quick enough to put WTM Racing on pole for this afternoon’s 6H Qualifying Race. This marks the first time since last year’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS that the German team starts from pole position, and its fourth successive series start from the front row.
Kessel Racing, which starts its second 24H SERIES event with the new Ferrari 296 GT3 this weekend, was looking good to make it an all-Ferrari front row heading into the closing stages of Q3, with David Fumanelli even setting the fastest overall laptime, a 1m 36.768s. A similarly hard-charging Frédéric Vervisch though – only the second driver to lap below 1m 37s with a 1m 36.985s – managed to push Kessel Racing back onto the second row with barely a minute of Q3 left to run, and by just 0.068s no less.
Behind the top three, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of reigning GT Continents Trophy winner CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) will start the 6H Qualifying Race ahead of reigning GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX (#1, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Christer Jöns). The latter’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II, which also took its first win of the season last time out at the Hankook 12H MONZA, ended Q1 with the 12th fastest laptime, but saw its average improve considerably with the 3rd and 4th fastest times by Erhart and Jons during Q2 and Q3 respectively.
Both CP Racing and Scherer Sport PHX looked set to be pipped to 4th on the grid by the E2P Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R (#90, Javier Morcillo / Pablo Burguera / Antonio Sainero), which gamely held on to its second row starting spot before being shuffled back to 6th on the grid. The returning MP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#58, Thomas Gostner / Manuela Gostner / Corinna Gostner / David Gostner / Fabrizio Crestani) rounds out the GT3 contingent, and will start just outside the overall top 10 after a three-place grid drop for changing tyres between sessions.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of 992 Teams’ standings leader Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#955, Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro / Papi Cosimo) seemingly put a difficult Monza weekend behind it by setting 992-class pole position – and the 7th fastest average time overall – ahead of Red Camel-Jordans.nl Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#909, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Fabian Danz). Reigning 992 Teams’ champion Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Yannick Redant / Kobe de Breucker) starts just behind its category title rivals.
Further back, a back-and-forth battle for 992-AM pole position between class standings leader RPM Racing (#907, Tracy Krohn / Niclas Jönsson / Philip Hamprecht) and HRT Performance (#967, Roberto Pampanini / Amedeo Pampanini / Stefano Monaco / Nicolas Stürzinger) eventually went to RPM Racing, the latter pipping its compatriot by a microscopically thin 0.036s.
Early provisional polesitter Vortex V8 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Gilles Courtois) ended up dropping back to 2nd on the timesheets behind the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo of GTX standings leader RD Signs - Siauliai racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius) when Gilles Courtois stopped at turn three. The mishap briefly brought out the red flags – neutralizing the session allowed teams time to improve their times across the final 10 minutes – and the Vortex was able to recover under its own power back to the pitlane.
A close fight for GT4 honours this year was encapsulated when the Mercedes-AMG GT4 of GT4 standings leader Buggyra Racing (#416, Aliyyah Koloc / David Vršecký / Adam Lacko) beat nearest championship rival Atlas BX Motorsport (#403, Steven Cho / Roelof Bruins / Jongkyum Kim / Taekeun Yang / Donggi Noh) for its first series pole since Mugello. The returning PCR Sport Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#418, Josep Parera / Vicente Dasi / José Nuñez) lines up 3rd in-class.
The green flag for this afternoon’s 6H Qualifying Race, the first to ever be held by CREVENTIC, is scheduled to fly at 13.30 hrs local time, the results of which will determine the grid for tomorrow’s Hankook 12H ESTORIL.