Aston Martin secures one-two in Qualifying
Jose-Maria Lopez, the Young Driver Aston Martin team's Argentine hired gun this weekend helped the No.8 car he is sharing with Stefan Mucke to pole position in an absorbing Qualifying session in San Luis.
The No.8 Aston Martin topped the time sheets in all three sessions. Lopez was at the wheel in the Q3 shootout and despite a spin on a hot lap towards the end of the session, he managed to keep the Aston Martin out of the walls to record a best lap of 2:14.406.
It was a dominant performance for Aston Martin with the Hexis No.9 of Fred Makowiecki and Yann Clairay second with a quickest lap of 2:14.764.
Third were the championship leaders Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini in the Vitaphone Maserati No.1 were third with 2:15.200.
San Luis Qualifying: What the drivers say ...
Jose Maria Lopez, Young Driver Aston Martin No.8
"I really enjoy driving these GT cars. 2008 was the last time I drove one -- the Ferrari 550 and even maybe if we didn't have the greatest results at the end of the year, it was a great experience. The Aston Martin is my favourite car as a road car so for me it was a dream to get to race one from the first time I drove it this morning it felt great.
"Stefan (Mucke) did a good job to get the car on P1 in Q2 because he only did five laps before Qualifying and didn't really know the circuit. I think we make a strong pair. This is a category that depends on team work, you rely on your mechanics and your co-driver a lot.
"I had a moment this morning and I nearly hit the wall and in Q3 I was on the limit and not knowing the car I spun but I was relieved to cross the line in P1 after that. For tomorrow I think we will be strong."
Stefan Mucke, Young Driver Aston Martin No.8
"It couldn't have gone better. It's a really challenging track and it's the first time for me here. Unfortunately I did just four timed laps in Free Practice before Qualifying so we didn't have a lot of data to work from so I was really surprised we did so well. The team did a mega job and gave us a really strong car.
"My last pole position was last year so I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow starting P1. I can't wait. The car should be strong. It will definitely be hot tomorrow so let's see how we can get the car to be consistent and manage the tyres over the race distance."
Frederic Makowiecki, Hexis Aston Martin No.9
"It is really important for us to finish strongly here in the races so we can fight for the top three in the teams' championship. I am really happy with the job the team has done so far this weekend and also my team-mate. This was a great team effort."
Yann Clairay, Hexis Aston Martin No.9
"I pushed very hard. I made some small mistakes on two of my laps in Q2. We hope to make a good start tomorrow because that will be the key to the race."
Michael Bartels, Vitaphone Maserati No.1
"First of all congratulations to the Aston they did a great job, the gap is nearly a second so I don't know how they managed this performance! It was important for us today not to make a mistake because the walls are very close and you never know if you if you can race the next day if you have an accident and the chassis is broken. We did the best job we could to be safe, to be quick, to be in Q3 and to stay ahead of our direct competitors for the championship. There's still an important job to do."
Andrea Bertolini, Vitaphone Maserati No.1
"We have 40 kilos taken off take off 40 kilos and the car is in another world. Michael and I know this track well so we are quite confident for a good race. Everyone in the team has to remain our focus. We do our race and after we see what happens for the championship."