Laurens Vanthoor put the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra on pole for the Total 24 Hours of Spa setting the fastest lap of the weekend so far to top the SuperPole session.
Vanthoor, who shares the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT #1 car with 2012 race winner Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock, lapped the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in 2:18.710 on his second and final lap allowed during the 20 minute session in which each of the top 20 cars from Thursday’s qualifying were released in reverse order at 20 second intervals.
Thus the #1 one, fifth fastest on Thursday was one of the final cars to complete its laps. Vanthoor’s first flying lap (2:19.255) placed him third behind Stef Dusseldorp and Steven Kane, both of whom had completed their allocation of laps at the time.
Fortunately the rain that threatened to upset the session – according to Vanthoor – it only fell on the straights – failed to make an impact, so, as planned the faster cars from Thursday’s session gradually rose up the order. As the second laps of those teams came in both Dusseldrop, qualifying the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and Kane aboard the lone M-Sport Bentley to make the top 20 cut were among the first cars to take to track, and as the latter drivers completed their session they were pushed down the order, Kane to sixth place while Dusseldorp was pushed back to third by Alessandro Pier Guidi who turned a lap only 0.045 seconds slower than Vanthoor to take second place on the grid for the second consecutive year, though this year he is part of AF Corse’s line-up in the #50 Ferrari 458 alongside Andrew Danyliw, Simon Knap and Andrea Sonvico.
Pier Guidi’s lap, which secured pole position among the Pro-Am Cup entries was the final realistic challenge to Vanthoor’s pole position, an achievement he admitted was a surprise.
The #1 team were one of three Audis in the top five, Sainteloc Racing’s #26 qualified fourth fastest by Edward Sandstrom ahead of Christopher Mies’ lap in the #3 Team WRT entry.
Behind the Blancpain Endurance Series drivers’ points’ leading Bentley the #84 HTP Merc, qualified by defending winner Bernd Schneider, #99 ART Grand Prix McLaren, #12 TDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 and the Beechdean AMR Vantage completed the top ten, Aston Martin driver Stefan Mucke unable to repeat his pole winning performance of a year ago.
The pair of the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS cars that led both of Thursday’s sessions endured a tougher run, the night session leading #66 only 11th quickest while the #77 that Dirk Werner that was the fastest car going into the session will start the race from 14th, Werner’s Superpole offering a fraction more than a second off the pole position time.
The Total 24 Hours of Spa is scheduled to start at 4:30pm local time (3:30pm UK) tomorrow (Saturday). www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have regular updates throughout the race.