Ferrari secures one-two in Paul Ricard qualifying
SMP Racing leads the Ferrari one-two in Circuit Paul Ricard 1000km after producing a dazzling display under the lights in this evening’s qualifying session. The action began just as the sun was setting at the French venue and saw both full-pro Ferrari crews rise to the challenge of rapidly changing conditions. The SMP line-up features two new additions this weekend, with the experienced Toni Vilander and series newcomer Antonio Fuoco sharing the #72 machine with full-season driver Sergey Sirotkin. Their pace was evident immediately as Vilander went fourth quickest in Q1, laying a strong foundation for his young teammates. Fuoco then delivered one of the most impressive qualifying laps of the season, ending Q2 fastest overall in his very first outing at this level of GT racing. This put the SMP crew within touching distance of top spot and Sirotkin made absolutely certain of the result, posting a 1m53.301s in the final segment. This was the fastest time across all three sessions and ensured that Ferrari will start from pole for the first time since Monza in 2018.
The #51 AF Corse crew confirmed the Italian brand’s superiority by taking second on the grid thanks to consistent speed from its trio of drivers. Alessandro Pier Guidi was third in the opening session, while Tom Blomqvist was second to Fuoco in Q2 and Come Ledogar completed the job by taking P4 in the final segment. The AF Corse crew also features two changes this weekend, as both Blomqvist and Ledogar have been drafted into the line-up for the Circuit Paul Ricard contest. As such they will support Pier Guidi’s bid for the Endurance Cup title, with the Italian well placed to overhaul a six-point gap tomorrow.
There will be some serious competition looking to overhaul the Ferrari duo from the second row of the grid, with the #4 HRT Mercedes-AMG starting alongside the #32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry. Outgoing champion Orange1 FFF Racing will lead an all-Lamborghini third row alongside Emil Frey Racing, while the title-contending #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG will start seventh.
Indeed, the battle for the overall Endurance Cup crown appears more open than ever ahead of the finale after the championship-leading #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche qualified in 26th position. However, with six hours of racing ahead, the Italian squad remains firmly in the hunt.
Madpanda Motorsport captured Silver Cup pole thanks to the two-man crew of Ezequiel Perez Companc and Patrick Assenheimer. Team owner Perez Companc was particularly impressive in Q2, posting the sixth-best time overall in the #90 Mercedes-AMG. The car will start 17th on the grid, two places ahead of Endurance Cup points leader Barwell Motorsport‘s #77 Lamborghini.
Pro-Am pole went to Sky Tempesta Racing, edging the #93 Ferrari into the lead of an ultra-close title battle. The British outfit is now a single point clear of Aston Martin squad Garage 59 heading into the decider. The #93 Ferrari will take the start from 21st overall, four places ahead of its title rival, after another strong showing from Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui and Eddie Cheever III.
Sainteloc Racing won the Am Cup battle with its #26 Audi, beating the #108 CMR Bentley after the latter failed to set a time in Q3. The remainder of the 40-car grid completed all three sessions in a particularly clean qualifying run.
GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup
Le Castellet, 14 Novembre 2020. Qualifying combined
- Tony Vilander / Antonio Fuoco / Sergey Sirotkin (Ferrari 488 GT3 / SMP Racing 1:53.578
- Alessandro Pier Guidi / Tom Blomqvist / Come Ledogar (Ferrari 488 GT3 / AF Corse) 1:53.795
- Maro Engel / Luca Stolz / Vincent Abril (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / HRT) 1:53.895
- Dries Vanthoor / Christopher Mies / Charles Weerts (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Belgian Audi Club Team WRT) 1:53.937
- Dennis Lind / Marco Mapelli / Andrea Caldarelli (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Orange 1 FFF Racing Team) 1:54.012
- Giacomo Altoè / Mikkel Mac / Albert Costa (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Emil Frey Racing) 1:54.150
- Raffaele Marciello / Timur Boguslavskiy / Maxi Buhk (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / AKKA ASP) 1:54.179
- Matt Campbell / Patrick Pilet /Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3-R / GPX Racing) 1:54.300
- Romain Dumas / Louis Deletraz / Thomas Preining (Porsche 911 GT3-R / GPX Racing) 1:54.347
- Markus Winkelhock / Dorian Boccolacci / Christopher Haase (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Sainteloc Racing) 1:54.367
- Kelvin van der Linde / Rolf Ineichen / Mirko Bortolotti (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Belgian Audi Club Team WRT) 1:54.385
- Norbert Siedler / Mikael Grenier / Ricardo Feller (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Emil Frey Racing) 1:54.473
- Mattia Drudi / Kim Luis Schramm / Frederic Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Attempto Racing) 1:54.473
- Jordan Pepper / Alvaro Parente / Andy Soucek (Bentley Continental GT3 / K-Pax Racing) 1:54.560
- Yelmer Buurman / Fabian Schiller / Alessio Lorandi (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / GetSpeed) 1:54.598
- Rodrigo Baptista / Maxime Soulet / Jules Gounon (Bentley Continental GT3 / K-Pax Racing) 1:54.622
- Ezequiel Perez Companc / Patrick Assenheimer (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / Madpanda Motorsport) 1:54.636 Silver
- Nelson Panciatici / Pierre Alexandre Jean / Sebastian Morris (Bentley Continental GT3 / CMR) 1:54.675
- Patrick Kujala / Frederik Schandorff / Alex MacDowall (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Barwell Motorsport) 1:54.680
- Valentin Hasse Clot / Andrew Watson / James Pull (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 / Garage 59) 1:54.781
- Chris Froggatt / Jonathan Hui / Edward Cheever (Ferrari 488 GT3 / SKY – Tempesta Racing) 1:54.863 Pro-Am
- Thomas Neubauer / Timothe Buret / Aurelien Panis (Lexus RCF GT3 / Tech 1 Racing) 1:54.887
- Michele Beretta / Hubert Haupt / Sergey Afanasiev (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / HRT) 1:54.898
- Rik Breukers / Stuart Hall / Benjamin Goethe (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Belgian Audi Club Team WRT) 1:54.950
- Alexander West / Chris Goodwin / Marvin Kirchhöfer (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 / Garage 59) 1:55.102
- Sven Müller / Christian Engelhart / Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 GT3-R / Dinamic Motorsport) 1:55.118
- Leo Machitski / Rob Collard / Sandy Mitchell (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Barwell Motorsport) 1:55.162
- Frank Bird / Nicolai Kjaergaard / Euan McKay (Bentley Continental GT3 / Team Parker Racing) 1:55.169
- Elia Erhart / Hiroshi Hamaguchi / Phil Keen (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Orange 1 FFF Racing Team) 1:55.185
- Alex Fontana / Lucas Legeret / Benjamin Hites (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / AKKA ASP) 1:55.262
- Mikkel O. Pedersen / Andrea Rizzoli / Adrien De Leener (Porsche 911 GT3-R / Dinamic Motorsport) 1:55.371
- Lorenzo Bontempelli / Louis Machiels / Maurizio Mediani (Ferrari 488 GT3 / AF Corse) 1:55.406
- Baptiste Moulin / Taylor Proto / Florian Latorre (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Orange 1 FFF Racing Team) 1:55.459
- Alex Aka / Nicolas Schöll / Finlay Hutchison (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Attempto Racing) 1:55.485
- Christian Hook / Manuel Lauck / David Perel (Ferrari 488 GT3 / Rinaldi Racing) 1:55.532
- Tom Onslow-Cole / Martin Konrad / Remon Vos (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / Ram Racing) 1:55.738
- Karim Ojjeh / Gilles Vannelet / Jens Klingmann (BMW M6 GT3 / Boutsen Ginion) 1:56.024
- Pierre Ehret / Daniel Keilwitz / Rino Mastronardi (Ferrari 488 GT3 / Rinaldi Racing) 1:56.369
- Christophe Hamon / Michael Blanchemain / Fabien Michal (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Sainteloc Racing) 1:57.040
- Stephane Tribaudini / Philippe Chatelet / Nicolas Misslin (Bentley Continental GT3 / CMR) 1:56.235