HTP Mercedes takes Gulf 12 pole position
The HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3 took the pole position for the 2019 Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
With pole position secured by recording the average time of the three 15-minute qualifying sessions, Mercedes AMG factory driver Maximilian Götz climbed into the car for the third and final session, taking over from team-mates Dominik Baumann and Al Faisal Al Zubair. Sitting in third place overall, Götz was behind the Pro-Am GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and Attempto Racing Audi R8 GT3 Pro car.
With all 31 cars searching for a space on track in the final moments, many drivers were suffering with traffic, but with only five minutes remaining, the timesheets began to change and Götz managed to put the Mercedes to the top of the average times.
The Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, which finished top of the previous day’s night testing, was now again in the hands of Patrick Kujala. The Finnish produced an outstanding lap of 2m08.450s, the quickest of the third session, to lift the car up to pole position.
His car’s average time was bettered, however, shortly after as Götz managed to find a clear lap through the traffic to regain top spot. Despite his best efforts, Kujala was unable to respond and had to settle for second place but on the front row of the grid ahead of the Attempto Racing Audi R8 GT3 and Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3. It was an impressive recovery from the HTP Mercedes after it suffered an oil pump failure in Wednesday’s test session which led to a new engine flown in overnight from Germany.
The Pro-Am Ferrari 488 GT3 of Monster VR46 Kessel was in need of a helping hand after the second qualifying session, lying just inside the top ten. But with Valentino Rossi at the wheel, setting a personal best session time of 2m09.589s, it vaulted the car up to seventh place and the fourth row of the grid for Saturday’s race.
The ArtLine Team Georgia Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo took pole position in the GT Cup 1 class, in eighth place overall, two-tenths of a second ahead of the 10th placed Dragon Racing Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
The GT3 AM class will be headed by Mercedes machinery, as the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes AMG took pole on row six, two places ahead of the AKKA ASP Mercedes AMG, with the Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 in third.
The United Autosports Ligier JSP3 won the pole battle in the Prototype class ahead of the ARC Bratislava Ginetta P3.
The MRS GT Racing Porsche Cup car secured pole position in the GT Cup 2 class ahead of the GDL Racing Porsche.
The GT4 class was headed by the SVC Sport Management Mercedes AMG, ahead of the British duo Balfe Motorsport McLaren 570S, and David Appleby Engineering Aston Martin Vantage.