Augusto Farfus dominated the top-30 qualifying session for the 2015 ADAC Nurburgring 24 Hours, pacing the field with a lap of 8:17.394 around around the 25km combination of the fearsome Nordschleife and the venue’s more familiar GP circuit.
The Brazilian, who shares the #26 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS Z4 GT3 with Joerg Muller, Nicky Castburg and Dirk Adorf set his best time on the second of the two laps allowed in the session, the finale of the pre-race sessions for the 43rd Nurburgring 24 Hours. He led a strong session for the BMW teams, with all four of the factory supported cars qualifying in the top six.
The #20 from BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert briefly held provisional pole as the times came in from the opening laps, Jens Klingmann completing the lap in 8:18.814 only for Farfus to snatch away the top spot as the very next driver across the line with an 8:17.531. The starting order had been drawn at random earlier in the day, mixing in those teams that qualified from the earlier qualifying session with those who pre-booked their spots with performances either in VLN races of the 24 Hours’ qualifying event, held in April.
The session was led off by Stefan Muecke in the Blistein liveried Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3, and so the German was the first to post a time, though his 8:21.588 was quickly knocked off provisional pole by Patrick Huisman in the Frikadelli Racing Porsche.
Maxime Martin, in the #25 Marc VDS BMW then took the top spot before Lance David Arnold put his Bentley fastest.
Then there was a wait for the cluster of fast drivers drawn down the order. Second qualifying topper Adam Christodoulou in the #2 Black Falcon Mercedes followed by a trio of BMWs, Farfus between the pair of Team Schubert cars on the road. Klingmann was through first, then Farfus, the Dirk Mueller in the #19 car. The three ended the first lap as the fastest three, Mueller four tenths slower than Klingmann.
The second laps brought improvements. Muecke improved, Martin improved, Audi drivers Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stippler improved on their earlier times, but Farfus’ marker seemed out of reach.
Christodoulou was another faster on his second lap, his 8:18.341 good enough to split the BMW benefit at the very front, pushing Klingmann down to third as he was unable to match the Brits pace on the second tour.
Farfus, as if to rubber stamp his position, also found further pace on his second lap, taking a further tenth off his time to win pole by almost a second. His lap was significantly faster than the lap which Christodoulou topped second qualifying with, but was seven seconds off the record pace set by Kevin Estre in qualifying for last year’s event, before the introduction of the speed limits at several points around the circuit.
“Two free laps on the legendary Nordschleife, bright blue sky and a great car – I enjoyed it,” enthused Farfus “For me, the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring is the most beautiful race in the world. The mood is as unique as the fans who are here to experience genuine motorsport. In 2010 I won the 24-hour race with BMW, and my name is still not on the roll of honour at the entrance to the paddock. If I win again this year, there is no excuse.”
The pair of Team Schubert BMWs will start on the second row ahead of the #29 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS qualified by Kaffer, the sister car – driven by Nico Meuller in the top-30 session – seventh fastest behind the Martin piloted BMW.
“For me it went well, even if I was missing something to reach Farfus’ time,” Klingmann admitted. “We have a good car, and we are happy to start from the second row tomorrow. This is especially important in this race, because you have less risk and can move to the front easier.”
Lance David Arnold’s erstwhile pole lap was good enough for eighth fastest in the #84 Bentley Continental GT3. The top ten at the start will be rounded out by the pair of Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audis, the #1 and #4, the defending champions in the former – fittingly – went off as the last car in the session.
The best non-GT3 car was the #10 Wochenspeigel Team Manthey Porsche, contesting the SP-Pro category, that was qualified 22nd fastest by Jochen Krumbach. He was just 76 thousandths quicker in the session than Hiroaki Ishiura in the Team Toyota Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA Code X that provides the Porsche squad’s main class competition.
The now lone Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003c was 24th fastest. Pole in the all-Porsche SP7 class went to another of the Manthey Racing entries, Sven Mueller qualifying the car in 27th overall with a lap of 8:32.832.
The start of the 2015 ADAC Nurburgring 24 Hours is scheduled for 4pm local time (3pm UK) tomorrow (Saturday May 16).