Audi on pole in GT World opener
The Attempto Racing’s Audi of Mattia Drudi, Kim-Luis Schramm and Frederic Vervisch will begin the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season from the front of the grid after securing pole position for tomorrow’s 3-hour race at Imola.
The trio posted the best average time, the top-26 cars separated by less than a second. Drudi went first and posted the third-fastest lap in Q1, putting the Attempto crew firmly in the mix. The opening run was led by Dries Vanthoor (Belgian Audi Club Team WRT), whose 1m41.882s effort edged Raffaele Marciello (AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) by just 0.017s.
Q2 saw Mirko Bortolotti hit the front in the #31 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT machine, with his 1m41.791s continuing the fine form displayed since Friday’s official test sessions. Schramm was only half a second shy of the rapid Italian, but the ultra-competitive nature of the field left him 15th overall.
Nevertheless, the Attempto car remained in the mix. It was all on Vervisch in Q3, and the Belgian delivered a scintillating effort of 1m41.213s to top the session and secure pole by 0.144s on average times.
The Audi will be joined on the front row at the Italian circuit by the AF Corse‘s Ferrari 488 GT3 car of Alessandro Pier Guidi (8th), Nicklas Nielsen (6th) and James Calado (2nd).
The #88 Mercedes-AMG will start from third. Marciello’s effort in Q1 was followed up by 21st for Timur Boguslavskiy and third for Felipe Fraga in the final session. GPX Racing put one of their Porsches on the second row, with Matt Campbell (6th), Patrick Pilet (5th) and Mathieu Jaminet (8th). The #31 WRT Audi will start fifth, followed by the #40 GPX Porsche.
Seventh overall went to the #15 Tech 1 Racing’s Lexus, which will also start from Silver Cup pole tomorrow afternoon. The young, all-French crew of Aurelien Panis, Timothé Buret and Thomas Neubauer were among the stars of qualifying, with Panis showing particular pace to take fourth overall in Q1. Their good work left the Lexus 10 spots clear of its nearest class rival, the Aston Martin fielded by Garage 59 with Andrew Watson and Valentin Hasse-Clot.
The SKY Tempesta Racing Ferrari bagged Pro-Am pole thanks to consistent showings from its trio of Jonathan Hui, Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III, all of whom were among the top-five in their class. The Barwell Motorsport’s Lamborghini qualified second on its return to Pro-Am competition, followed by the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG. Tomorrow’s grid will be completed by the #108 CMR Bentley, which is running in the Am Cup class.
Tomorrow’s three-hour race begins at 13.30 CET and will be broadcast live on television and a variety of online platforms, including the GT World Challenge Europe website and Facebook page and the GT World YouTube channel. When the green flag drops, Imola will launch the 10th season of competition for the Endurance Cup, and the most eagerly anticipated in the championship’s history.