Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer combined to give the defending FIA WEC champions pole position for tomorrow’s Six Hours of Spa–Francorchamps.
Under the new for 2013 qualifying format for the WEC the duo posted the best four lap average from the half hour session. Though the slower of the two in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro it was Lotterer who was the difference between the #1 and the ‘longtail’ #3 which will line up on the other side of front row for the start of the race.
It was in the #3 that Lucas di Grassi set the fastest lap of the session (1:58.934) in the first half of the session, putting the car on provisional pole on the average of the two laps from the first two drivers ahead of Fassler’s #1. However, while Lotterer’s laps were good enough to maintain an average lap under the two-minute mark (1:59.961) with Marc Gene at the wheel the #3’s average slipped back to 2:00.236.
Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish put the #2 third on the grid ahead of the two Toyota TS030, the #7 leading the #8. After the fourth place heroics of the second practice the #12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota fell back to sixth with Nick Heidfeld and Neel Jani’s average 1.5 seconds off the pole marker and more than 1.8 seconds faster than the sister #13 car.
Nicolas Minassian and Pierre Kaffer were the fastest men throughout the session for Pecom Racing in LMP2. They remained ahead throughout the session, but their pole advantage remained relatively slender at just 0.222 seconds over the Oliver Turvey and Lucas Luhr qualified Jota Zytek-Nissan. Olivier Pla and Alex Brundle qualified the #24 OAK Morgan third fastest with their teammate in the #35 seventh-tenths slower in fourth place.
Aston Martin Racing overturned the advantage held by AF Corse and Ferrari to take pole positions in both LMGTE classes after the works Ferrari team had led the classes in both of the practice sessions.
All seven entries in the LMGTE Pro class ended the session with averages only just more than a second apart. The Bruno Senna and Fred Makowiecki qualified #98 Aston Martin scored pole position, Senna the fastest man in the class during the session.
Though – of the second drivers – Makowiecki was beaten by Gimmi Bruni the Aston Martin Racing kept the pole position, Bruni pulling the average of the #51 car he shares with Giancarlo Fisichella to just 0.042 seconds more than the pole time. The second Pro AF Corse Ferrari of Kamui Kobayashi and Toni Vilander will start third in class, with the #97 Aston Martin alongside.
Of the three LMGTE pro manufacturers Porsche were the weakest in qualifying. While the #91 – Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet was sixth fastest, less than half a second off the class pole average the #92 was more than a second slower – on average – than the benchmark Aston.
Despite the gap in the Pro times all seven were faster than the best of the LMGTE Am class, with Allan Simonsen pulling the #95 Aston Martin onto the class pole after Christoffer Nygaard than started the session in the car. Nygaard was only just in the top half dozen of the first drivers to out in the class by the ever rapid Simonsen was comfortably the fastest man in the second half of the session, with Stuart Hall second best in other Aston Martin in the class.
Hall, who had taken over from Jamie Campbell–Walter mid session would give the #96 third in the gird, the two Vantages sandwiching the 8Star Motorsports Ferrari.
Despite leading both of the practice session the combination of Marco Cioci and Matt Griffin could only put the #61 AF Corse car sixth in class, more than a second and a half off the class pole time.
The Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps begins tomorrow (Saturday May 4) at 2:30pm local time (1:30pm UK).