Audi Sport Team WRT top eventful night qualifying – but Akka ASP remain on top

by Vince Pettit

An eventful night qualifying for the 2017 Total 24 hours of Spa ended with the #90 Akka ASP Mercedes-AMG of Edoardo Mortara, Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello setting the fastest time from the two qualifying sessions.

#2 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS finished fastest of the night session with a best time of 2:18.752 ahead of the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in second and the #9 Bentley Team Abt Continental GT3.

Overall the top five remained in the same positions from the first qualifying, but it was the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team that forged through the order as they pulled themselves up from seventeenth to sixth place. The time set by the #9 Bentley also moved them through the running order from thirty-third to seventh place.

The #23 Motul Team RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 also made impressive progress to finish a combined ninth place, moving them up from thirty-fifth.

There was early drama when the #22 Motul Team RJN Motorsport car hit the barriers at the top of Radillon, bringing out red flags while the car was recovered.

Being driven by Matthew Parry at the time of the accident the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 ran wide with a puncture at the quick switch between Eau Rouge and Radillon, the car lost traction and Parry was left an unhappy passenger as it careered in the to the barriers head on. Thankfully the Brit would emerge from the car unaided and the car would head back to the pitlane on the back of a truck for the team to work on ahead of the race on Saturday.

50 minutes in to the session the #98 Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 made contact with the  #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3, leaving the Barwell car facing the wrong way in at the last chicane.

The #961 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 survived a spin off track, with no contact to the barriers it was quickly back to business for Alex Demerdijan.

#7 Bentley Team M-Sport’s session ended early when Guy Smith came to a halt heading in to La Source, a brief yellow flag and the marshals were able to push the stricken car out of the way and behind the barriers. The car would later be recovered to the pitlane with 20 minutes remaining.

A full course yellow was called with 45 minutes remaining when the #961 Ferrari spun off track again and stopped facing the wrong way in the gravel trap. The vehicle was swiftly recovered and set on it’s way again as the session resumed with a green flag at 42 minutes remaining.

The top 20 drivers will now switch their focus to tomorrows Super Pole session which will take place at 19:30 local time, setting the grid for the front runners ahead of Saturday’s race.

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