It will be Raffaele Marciello who’ll line up at the front for the first race of the FIA GT World Cup, after a sensational final lap saw him leap ahead of Augusto Farfus at the Guia Circuit.
A sensational season for the Italian looks to be finishing in equally spectacular style, as Marciello had been languishing in fifth for the final few minutes of the session, it all rested on a final run. With Farfus having already used the best of his tyres, attention soon turned to the Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing trio.
Initial hopes rested on Maro Engel, but the German soon ran into traffic on a lap in which he was already behind the benchmark. Marciello wouldn’t have a perfect run either, needing to pass Farfus in the final sector. It mattered little though and after three personal bests around the lap clawed back the 0.2 second gap, to deny the BMW driver after the flag had dropped.
Marciello’s time of 2min 16.8sec was half a second quicker than the Team Schnitzer racer. Third would go to Engel as Eduardo Mortara made it three Mercedes in the top four.
Earl Bamber would lead the Porsche 911 GT3 attack, picking up fifth, though will be frustrated to be almost a second slower than the polesitter. Teammate Laurens Vanthoor will line up alongside on the third row.
The session had been curtailed at the halfway stage when Robin Frijns ran wide at the Lisboa corner, parking his car in the barrier. Despite this, Frijns still qualified seventh ahead of Macau rookie Christopher Haase.