Night Qualifying Sessions Weather The hot and heavy weather broke during the evening break, and the resulting rainshower meant that the first hour of night qualifying was declared a wet practice. The drivers were all warned that it ...
Night Qualifying Sessions
The hot and heavy weather broke during the evening break, and the resulting rainshower meant that the first hour of night qualifying was declared a wet practice. The drivers were all warned that it was particularly wet at Stavelot and Blanchimont. The weather grew gradually worse as the night progressed.
Rules and Regulations
To qualify for the race, all the drivers have to complete three laps of the track in night conditions. All drivers also have to set a lap time within 125% of the average time set by the three fastest cars, and within 110 % of the best time in their category.
Night Qualifying : Provisional pole for Hezemans
Fastest in both free practice sessions, the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R claimed provisional pole in a wet night session, while the nr 63 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena was fastest in the N-GT category. In Category 2, the nr 88 Belgian Racing Vertigo Streiff took provisional pole, with Land Motorsport Porsche Carrera 996 on provisional pole for Category 3.
First night session
The session started with the three Paul Belmondo Chrysler Vipers at the top of the tables, until Mike Hezemans set a lap of 2:24.05, placing the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R back into the lead. Shortly before 10 pm, Emanuele Naspetti put the nr 5 Rafanelli Ferrari 550 Modena up into second place, with a lap of 2:25.273, despite the worsening conditions. Setting a good time was something of a lottery, depending on choosing the right tyres at the right time. Those drivers who missed the first minutes of the session, or moved to wet tyres too soon, found it difficult to set a competitive time.
Throughout the session, the battle for the N-GT lead was between David Terrien in the nr 62 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena, and Stephane Ortelli in the nr 58 Freisinger Porsche 996 GT3-R. Ortelli’s best time of 2:33.149 was eventually eclipsed by Terrien’s time of 2:32.661.
Half way through the session, most cars were going out on wet or intermediate tyres, and times were significantly slower, with visibility extremely low. Most teams therefore concentrated on getting their drivers qualified, setting the three obligatory night laps. Shortly before the end of the session the Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R stopped on the track, having run out of fuel.
At the end of the session, the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R still led the timesheets, over a second ahead of the nr 5 Rafanelli Ferrari 550 Maranello. They were followed by the three Paul Belmondo Chrysler Vipers, with the second Carsport Viper in sixth. Unusually, the nr 7 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R, currently leading the Championship, was 11th, after choosing the wrong tyres early in the session.
Second night session
The second session started wet, and times remained relatively slow, although the rain was slowing by mid-way through the session. However, the track remained damp, so that no-one was able to improve on their times.
Day Qualifying Session
Grey clouds have settled over Spa Francorchamps, and the early showers turned into a downpour shortly before the final 45-minute qualifying session started.
Third Pole Position for Hezemans
The lap time of 2:24.053, set by Mike Hezemans and the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper at the start of Thursday’s first qualifying session, remained the fastest time at Spa as the weather grew steadily worse, and Mike claimed his third pole position of the season. The Carsport Viper has dominated all sessions held at Spa this week, including the third qualifying session, and will start from the front of the grid for round seven of the FIA GT Championship. The nr 5 Rafanelli Ferrari 550 Maranello will be alongside the Carsport Viper, followed by all three Paul Belmondo Chrysler Viper GTS-Rs.
Terrien takes N-GT pole
David Terrien claimed pole position in the N-GT class, with a time of 2:32.661 in the nr 62 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena, also set during the first session. Second and third places in the category went to Freisinger Motorsport, with Stephane Ortelli setting the second time in the nr 57 Porsche 996 GT3-R, and Tim Verbergt using his local knowledge to place the nr 58 car third. In Category 2, the nr 88 Belgian Racing Vertigo Streiff took pole, setting the 13th time, while the Land Motorsport Porsche Carrera 996 claimed pole in Category 3, in seventeenth place overall.
Third qualifying session
With the rain falling ever heavier, the fastest car on the circuit at the start of the session was the Gammon Megaspeed Porsche 996 GT3-R, with Belgian driver Geoffroy Horion setting a time of 3:03.310. He was a massive 12 seconds faster than the second fastest car, the nr 77 RWS Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R. A number of cars, including the nr 62 JMB Competition Ferrari 360 Modena, chose not to take part in this session, due to the conditions.
During the first twenty minutes, most cars venturing onto the track set lap times between four and five minutes, compared to yesterday’s provisional pole of 2:24.053, and the best time in free practice of 2:22.196. With the track drenched and rain still falling, the N-GT cars lead the field, with the Gammon Megaspeed car followed by the nr 54 Art Engineering Porsche 996 GT3-R, driven today by Collini and Malcharek, the nr 77 RWS Motorsport Porsche, and the Cirtek and Freisinger Porsches. The leading GT car, the GLPK Chrysler Viper GTS-R, with Bert Longin at the wheel, was in sixth place, while the nr 17 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R was second among the GTs, in seventh position overall.
Ten minutes before the end of the session, the nr 82 DD Racing Porsche 996 GT3-R improved to second overall. Their lap of 3:05.745 was just over two seconds slower than the Gammon Megaspeed Porsche, and eight seconds faster than Art Engineering’s time of 3:13.210. Towards the end of the session, the lap times began to come down, with most cars setting times in the 3-minute bracket. The rain slowed in the final moments, and the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper, with Thierry Tassin at the wheel, ended the reign of the N-GT cars. There was a rush of improvements in the last minutes, but it was too late for any real hope of surpassing Thursdays’ times. This mean that when the chequered flag came out at 11:45, Mike Hezemans had claimed the third pole position of the season for the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R.