After Land Motorsport and WRT Audi R8s set the pace in today’s early sessions, it was Walkenhorst Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 that emerged as the fastest car during the evening’s four-part Qualifying session at Spa, which sets the grid from 21st down, and decides which 20 cars make tomorrow’s Super Pole.
The combined time from Philipp Eng, Tom Blomqvist and Christian Krognes was a 2:19.155, a full three tenths faster than the other cars in the field. The time was headlined by Krognes’s 2:19.012 flyer, the fastest lap from the trio.
“It’s provisional but we’ll take it,” said Eng. “I’m lucky enough to have two very talented teammates. The car was also amazing. To be on provisional pole for the 24 Hours of Spa is such an offer. I hope we can take this momentum into Super Pole tomorrow.”
Behind though, it was all Audi, with R8s filling the remaining four places in the top five. The best of the quartet was the #25 Sainteloc Audi R8, Markus Winkelhock, Chris Haase and Fred Vervisch combining for a 2:19.469 time.
The French-flagged team, which won last year’s edition of the Spa 24 didn’t take second by much though, as the #2 WRT Audi of Robin Frijns, Nico Muller and Rene Rast ended up within a tenth of Sainteloc’s example, with a 2:19.475.
Fourth and fifth in the running order meanwhile was the #1 WRT Audi, which ran fastest in Pre-Qualifying, and the #29 Montaplast by Land R8, which topped Free Practice.
Best of the rest in sixth, was the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3, which ended up with a 2:19.728.
It was a tight session, with the top 13 all within a second of one another, and the top 20 separated by just 1.3 seconds.
The remaining runners that have secured a place in the Super Pole session, (provisionally) are as follows:
#4 Black Falcon Mercedes, #117 KUS Team75 Bernhard Porsche, #72 SMP Racing Ferrari, #63 GRT Grasser Lamborghini, #62 R-Motorsport Aston, #88 Team AKKA Mercedes, #911 Manthey Racing Porsche, #84 Team Mann-Filter Mercedes, #14 Emil Frey Lexus, #66 Attempto Racing Audi, #17 Team WRT Audi, #58 Garage 59 McLaren, #82 GRT Grasser Lamborghini, #99 ROWE Racing BMW.
Just outside the top 20, there were plenty of notable Pro cars that missed out on a Super Pole berth, the #23 2018-spec RJN Nissan GT-R coming closest, ending up 21st, less than a tenth away from making the cut. The second Emil Frey Lexus and ROWE Racing BMWs also didn’t make it in, along with the #19 Grasser Lamborghini, #43 and #44 Strakka and #35 SMP AKKA Mercedes.
In the other classes, the fastest car was the #54 Emil Frey Racing Jaguar, which continues to show real pace this season. The G3 ended up 23rd overall, and on Pole in the Silver Cup class with a 2:20.619, after what was a very productive outing for Mikael Grenier, Adrian Zaugg and Alex Fontana.
Futher down the order in 25th overall was the Pro-Am pole-sitting Ram Racing Mercedes, which ended up with a very respectable 2:20.716 after laps from Felix Rosenqvist, Euan Hankey, Salih Yoluc and Darren Burke. The #188 Garage 59 McLaren took the Am Cup Pole Position, and the GDL Racing Lamborghini Super Trofeo ran fastest in Group N.
There were a few cars that didn’t set times, the #7 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental failed to make it out for Q4, the #76 R-Motorsport Aston also didn’t complete enough laps after stopping at Raidillon during Q3 and the #6 Silver Cup Black Falcon Mercedes failed to make it out for Qualifying after its Free Practice incident.
Across the four session there were two Red Flag periods, the first for Riccardo Patrese having an off in the Honda Racing NSX GT3 at Campus in Q1, and the second for the Jake Dennis in the afformentioned #76 R-Motorsport Vantage, which stopped out on track and dropped oil in Q3.
Next up at Spa is Night Practice, which will begin at 22:30 local time.