Injured Buurman Put in Stellar Lap for Paul Ricard Pole

Credit: Olivier Beroud / Vision Sport Agency

A tightly contested qualifying session resulted in the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon taking pole position ahead of the 1000km of Paul Ricard. The lap by Yelmer Buurman – despite being injured – was enough to give the Mercedes their first Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup pole of the year.

The opening of the three sessions, had seen the #55 Kapersky Motorsport car take top spot with a time of 1min 58.207. The benchmark would be dropped soon afterwards, with the SMP Racing going top at the hands of Miguel Molina.

The #72 Ferrari continued to be the car to beat in the third qualifying and would hold top spot as the flag fell. It had been Franck Perera who set the early pace with the #4 Mercedes and #72 SMP swapping times at the top.

While the Ferrari did hold the advantage, a spectacular final lap from Buurman saw him jump to the front. Along with teammates Adam Christadoulou and Luca Stolz, the trio will be hoping to kick-start their year after scoring just one point in the first two endurance races.

SMP Racing thus settled for second, just 0.031 seconds behind the pole time of 1min 56.442. The second Ferrari brand of the #50 AF Corse will line up in third, while the Emil Frey Jaguar complete the second row.

Finally, early pace setter Perera fell to fifth in his #84 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport ahead of the #7 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental. The top Audi was the #1 Team WRT in tenth.

Buurman will start the 6 hour race.