Endurance Racing

Qualifying Rainout Gives BMW Front Row Start

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Kechele's Thursday night time was enough to take pole (Photo Credit: BMW AG)

After a heavy thunderstorm forced the cancellation of the planned 20-minute Super Pole session to set the grid positions for the Total 24 Hours of Spa BMW swept the front row of the grid with times taken from Thurday’s two sessions aiming to add another win to BMW’s collection of Spa sucesses.

Frank Kechele had given the #66 Vita4One Racing Team BMW Z4 pole position after Thursday's two qualifying sessions, just eight hundredths slower Maxime Martin qualified the Marc VDS Racing car second. Martin, sharing with fellow Belgian Bas Leinders and Finn Markus Palttala has already scored two wins in this year's Blancpain Endurance Series.

“We are really happy with this pole position,” said Kechele, who shares the car with 2011 winner Greg Franchi and Mathias Lauda. “Obviously I would have liked to go head-to-head with the opposition in the super pole session. But this would have been too risky in these conditions. Now we will focus on a solid race preparation. Our mechanics have a little less work due to today's cancellation and were able to save some energy for tomorrow's long race. My qualifying lap on Thursday was good. In one or two corners I might have even been a bit quicker.”

In total seven of BMW GT3-spec Z4 will start the 24 Hours, and four had their places in the top ten cemented when a spectacular rain storm snapped a streak of hot weather at the Ardennes track – the fickle weather a familiar part of any weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

DB Motorsport's #36 car will start from fifth with the ROAL Motorsport car – featuring WTCC drivers Michela Cerutti and Tom Coronel – eighth. Outside of the top ten the second Marc VDS car will start from sixteenth, the Race Art run #70 24th and DB Motorsport's second entry 34th.

The 2012 24 Hours of Spa is due to start at 4pm local time (3pm UK time) with the race streamed via the Blancpain Endurance Series official website at www.blancpain-endurance-series.com.

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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