EU3: GT3: Spa qualifying notes

For the third round of the season, the FIA GT3 European Championship is racing on challenging track of Spa-Francorchamps. The two one-hour races are going to be exciting, with 41 cars expected on the starting grid. The first race is going to be on...

For the third round of the season, the FIA GT3 European Championship is racing on challenging track of Spa-Francorchamps. The two one-hour races are going to be exciting, with 41 cars expected on the starting grid. The first race is going to be on Friday afternoon, and the second on Saturday, few hours before the start of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, for which a few competitors in the FIA GT3 European Championship will also join the starting grid.

Hot, humid and overcast, with a possibility of storms.

QUALIFYING PROCEDURE

The first 20-minute session sets the grid for Friday's race, while the second 20-minute session for the second race, on Saturday. However, the slowest driver in each car will start the first race, while the fastest driver will start the second race.

QUALIFYING RACE ONE :FIRST POLE POSITION FOR ASTON MARTIN

Driving the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9, Marcello Zani set the fastest time in the first qualifying session for the FIA GT3 European Championship in Spa, with a time of 2.27.458. For the first time in this inaugural season, an Aston Martin DBRS9 will start from pole position. In the second position, Anthony Reid, driving the nr 29 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, set the fastest time for the Dodge Vipers.

The first car to lead the session was the nr 76 Maserati GranSport Light of Roberto Sperati, with a time of 2.42.739, ahead of Anthony Reid in the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and the nr 15 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 of Jirik Jaromir. But after 5 minutes, the red flag was shown, when the nr 14 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo GT3, driven by Marius Ristkes, went off in the Raidillon.

After the restart, the times improved when the nr 23 BMS Scuderia Aston Martin DBRS9 of Marcello Zani set the provisional pole time with a lap of 2.39.980. However, his time was soon superseded by both Racing Box Dodge Viper Competition Coupe cars, which set the two fastest times, the nr 26 ahead of the nr 27.

During the last five minutes, the hierarchy changed completely. Marcello Zani reclaimed first position, with a lap of 2.27.458, while Anthony Reid (nr 29 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe) set the second-fastest time, and Patrick Bornhauser went third in the nr 10 Racing Logistic Dodge Viper. Jonathan Cocker was sixth in the leading Barwell Aston Martin, ahead of the nr 18 Carsport Callaway Corvette. The fastest Porsche was ninth, with Dimitris Deverikos in the nr 9 Tech 9 car.

QUALIFYING RACE TWO : BELGIAN DRIVER FRED BOUVY ON POLE FOR RACE 2

For his first participation in the FIA GT3 European Championship, Belgium driver Frederic Bouvy claimed pole position, in the nr 10 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, with a time of 2.27.050. James Ruffier set the second-fastest time in the nr 19 Riverside Corvette, while Tiff Needell, in the nr 22 Barwell Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9, was third. The leading Porsche was the nr 9 Tech9 Motorsport car, with Sean Edwards setting the time. This mean that four different makes were in the top four, with five cars within the same second.

Allan Simonsen, in the nr 34 JMB Racing Ferrari 430 Challenge GT3, set the fastest time among the Ferrari cars, while Dennis Retera was the first Lamborghini driver, with the nr 13 Reiter Engineering Gallardo, and Andrea Palma was the first among the Maserati cars.

During the twenty-minute session, the nr 27 Racing Box Dodge Viper Competition Coupe was the first to be on provisional pole position, Stefano Livio at the wheel. But times kept on improving lap by lap, as did the pole man. With a time of 2.27.711, the nr 22 BMS Scuderia Aston Martin DBRS9, driven by Tiff Needell, set provisional pole, ahead of Sean Edwards (nr 9 Tech 9 Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) and James Ruffier (nr 15 Riverside Corvette Z06 GT3). The Frenchman then improved his time and set the provisional best time. However, with a lap of 2.27.050, Belgium driver Frederic Bouvy reclaimed the first position, in the nr 10 Racing Logistic Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, then chose to stop his session in order to preserve his tyres.

DRIVERS' QUOTES

Marcello Zani, nr 23 BMS Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBRS9 : "This is the first pole position for me, and also for Aston Martin, so it is a real pleasure. Aston Martin and BMS did an incredible job and the car is pretty good. I pushed really hard, I have a good feeling here, and I really wanted to get a good result. This track is good for us, my team mate Massimiliano Mugelli is going well, so I'm sure that in both races we will be able to fight for the first position, in order to get important points for the Championship."

Anthony Reid, nr 29 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper Competition Coupe : "I'm a bit disappointed because I had a clear lap, but I made a little mistake in the Stavelot corner and I put a wheel on the grass. I think that I would have been able to get pole position. The car is quite good. The team is doing an incredible job, because between the FIA GT3 European Championship and the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa it is a lot of work, they deserve a good result to thank them. For me it is quite confusing because on one session I'm driving one car, and on the other session I'm driving a different car-- but it is OK, I'm used to it !"

Frederic Bouvy, nr 10 Racing Logistic Dodge Viper Competition Coupe : "It is always good to get pole position here, but the race is a different matter. We have to change few little details on the car, but we are quite confident."

James Ruffier, nr 19 Riverside Corvette Z06 GT3 : "We were far away yesterday so it is much better now. Since the beginning of the season we have had quite a lot of problems with the car, so we are working a lot on the reliability -- but each time there is something new ! We do not have time to do any development on the car, so it is not good. The time is ok, but we could only do it on one lap, during the race we are going to kill our tyres very quickly, so I do not think that we can get a result."

-fia

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Anthony Reid , Tiff Needell , Allan Simonsen , Jonathan Cocker , Stefano Livio , Dimitris Deverikos , Sean Edwards , Marcello Zani , Dennis Retera , Patrick Bornhauser , Massimiliano Mugelli , Jaromir Jirik , James Ruffier , Roberto Sperati , Andrea Palma
Teams Reiter Engineering