Rast Claims Pole For FIA GT Series Finale In Baku

WRT Audi - Photo Credit: V-IMAGES.com/Fabre
WRT Audi - Photo Credit: V-IMAGES.com/Fabre

Rene Rast came out on top in qualifying for the FIA GT Series finale with a scorching lap on the streets of Baku in Azerbaijan.

The German finished up a whole second clear of anybody else in the second of the two sessions, and half a second clear of Markus Winkelhock who had set the pace in the opening segment. Winkelhock’s Phoenix Racing Audi was later disqualified for a technical infringement.

That moved the WRT Audi of Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor up onto the front row alongside the sister car of Rast and Niki Mayr-Melnhof. Mayr-Melnhof is an outsider in the title race, with Ortelli and Vanthoor leading the standings ahead of another WRT pairing Edward Sandstrom and Frank Stippler was only 11th fastest, and will take a five-place grid penalty for contact in practice.

Alexander Sims took third place with his time in the first session in the Boutsen Ginion McLaren he shares with Stef Dusseldorp. Mike Parisy was fourth in the similar Sebastien Loeb Racing-entered car while Maxime Martin claimed fifth in his Marc VDS Racing BMW.

Next were three more McLarens, led by Sebastien Loeb in sixth. McLaren F1 protege Stoffel Vandoorne managed seventh on his GT debut in the second Boutsen Ginion car ahead of the Hexis Racing car of Rob Bell and Kevin Estre in eighth.

Porsche factory driver Nick Tandy took ninth for Trackspeed with the top ten completed by Sergio Jimenez‘s BMW.

Pro-Am class leaders Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen took class pole in their Mercedes in 15th overall, one place behind the leading Gentleman Trophy car qualified by Federico Leo and shared by Claudio Sdanewitsch.