An Audi emerged victorious in the Nurburgring 24 race and the famous manufacturer is on track to potentially do it again at Spa.
With the twenty fastest cars of Thursday’s qualifying sessions taking to the track at twenty second intervals, the Superpole session for the 2014 Total 24 Hours of Spa would always be a frantic affair. Each driver had the opportunity to do two timed laps, and it was soon clear that the second of those quick laps of the 7 km circuit had the potential of being the quicker of the two. Just before the start of the session a small rain shower had crossed the track but conditions on the Belgian asphalt were improving all the time.
I never expected (my lap) to be good enough for pole position
Steven Kane in the #7 M-Sport Bentley was the first driver to clock a low 2’19, but his time was quickly improved by Stef Dusseldorp in the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes. The Dutchman, 18th in Thursday’s qualifying sessions, was the first driver this weekend to break the 2’19 barrier. His 2’18.934 proved to be difficult to beat, but when Laurens Vanthoor and Alessandro Pier Guidi unleashed their big guns, it was clear that they would decide who would start from pole on Saturday.
Laurens Vanthoor was the first to cross the line, in 2’18.710. Because Pier Guidi had set the best time of all drivers in the first sector, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT-driver had to wait for the Italian colleague to cross the line to be sure he had done enough. Despite being quickest in the final sector as well, the AF Corse Ferrari-driver came up 0.046 of a second short, which meant that Belgian Vanthoor claimed pole position for the Belgian highlight of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Laurens Vanthoor (#1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT): “When I crossed the line I felt good about my lap, but I never expected it to be good enough for pole position. So when my engineer told me that I was P1, I was quite surprised. It’s fantastic to be on pole, as a Belgian driver for a Belgian team in the most important Belgian race of the year, but this was easy compared to what we have to do on Saturdayand Sunday. It will be a very hard race, I think there will be at least fifteen cars having a go at the win.”
Alessandro Pier Guidi (#50 AF Corse Ferrari, 1st Pro-Am): “I have to thank the team, because they gave me a fantastic car for this Superpole session. I am quite happy about my lap, even though the middle sector was not perfect. That cost me the pole probably, but I am still happy to be on the front row, like last year. This time I promise that I will try to have a start without making any mistakes.”
Stef Dusseldorp (#85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes): “On Thursday I could not put a good lap together, so I expected to be higher up today. Third is above all expectations, though. This does not guarantee anything for the race, however. It will be very tough, but now we know the speed is there.”
Top Ten Qualifiers
1.) No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS Ultra
2.) No. 50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia (Top Pro-Am entry)
3.) No. 85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
4.) No. 26 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra
5.) No. 3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS Ultra
6.) No. 7 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3
7.) No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3
8.) No. 99 ART Grand Prix McLaren MP4-12C
9.) No. 12 TDS Racing BMW Z4
10.) No. 107 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3