Porsche take Spa pole, Ferrari head up GTE Pro

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The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of André Lot­ter­er, Neel Jani and Nick Tandy will start tomorrow’s Six Hours of Spa-Fran­cor­champs from pole posi­tion after an inci­dent-filled qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion at the Bel­gian track. LMP2 pole went to the #26 G-Dri­ve Rac­ing Ore­ca, with Fer­rari and Porsche fastest in GTE Pro and GTE Am respec­tive­ly.

The ses­sion began in cool but dry con­di­tions at the Spa-Fran­cor­champs cir­cuit, with Porsche and Toy­ota going head to head straight off the bat in the fight for pole. The #9 machine dri­ven by Stéphane Sar­razin and Nico­las Lapierre made the ear­ly run­ning in LMP1, with Sar­razin set­ting what would prove to be the fastest lap of the ses­sions – a 1:53.658 – in his six-lap run. How­ev­er, Porsche dri­vers André Lot­ter­er and Neel Jani also showed impres­sive pace and end­ed up snatch­ing the pole posi­tion from Toy­ota, with the #7 car of Mike Con­way and Kamui Kobayashi slot­ting into sec­ond place rough­ly half a sec­ond fur­ther back on aver­age lap time.

The LMP qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion was inter­rupt­ed after just a cou­ple of min­utes after the #25 CEFC Manor TRS Rac­ing car over­cooked it at Pouhon and col­lid­ed with the bar­ri­ers, end­ing its qual­i­fy­ing effort in the process. Once released, it was the G-Dri­ve Rac­ing car of Roman Rusi­nov, Pierre Thiri­et and Alex Lynn who took the pole with a fastest aver­age lap time just 0.023 sec­onds quick­er than the #36 Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine Mat­mut car of Gus­ta­vo Menezes, Matt Rao and, stand­ing in for Nico­las Lapierre, for­mer works Porsche dri­ver Romain Dumas.

In GTE Pro, pole posi­tion went to Davide Rigon and Sam Bird in the #71 AF Corse Fer­rari 488, whose fastest aver­age lap time was just under half a sec­ond quick­er than Ste­fan Mücke and Olivi­er Pla in the #66 Ford Chip Ganas­si Rac­ing Team UK machine. The #67 Ford GT round­ed out the top three in the twen­ty-minute qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion, with the Aston Mar­tins show­ing a dis­tinct lack of speed com­pared to their GTE Pro chal­lengers, trail­ing the lead­ing Fer­rari by over two sec­onds on aver­age lap time.

The #77 Dempsey-Pro­ton Porsche 911 RSR of Mat­teo Cairoli and Chris­t­ian Ried secured GTE Am pole ahead of the #54 Spir­it of Race Fer­rari 488 of Thomas Floh, Miguel Moli­na and Francesco Castel­laci, The #98 Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing team fared some­what bet­ter than the team’s GTE Pro entries, qual­i­fy­ing in third posi­tion in class.