Text & Images: Rick Kiewiet
Reigning GTWC champions Dries Vanthoor, Charles Weerts and Kelvin van der Linde started their championship defending campaign the best way possible with pole position for the race in Imola. Alongside them is another Audi, the #25 Sainteloc Racing R8 of Chris Mies, Patric Niederhauser and Lucas Legeret. After yesterdays sweep, the third place on the grid for the #88 AKKODIS ASP of Marciello, Gounon and Dani Juncadella might come a bit as a disappointment.
Vanthoor, Weerts and van der Linde weren't fastest in any of the three qualifying sessions, but they were the most consistent. Vanthoor was only fifth in Q1, nearly 4 tenths of the pace set by Christopher Haase in the #12 Tresor by Car Collection Audi. Kelvin van der Linde produced a fourth time in Q2, that was topped by Niederhauser in the #25 Sainteloc Audi. Weerts didn't get higher that p8 in the final session, but it was enough to stay ahead of the Saiteloc Audi and AKKODIS ASP Mercedes.
Results are still provisional though, as the spin Charles Weerts had in Q3, and ended the session with a red flag, might have some consequences in terms of a best time cancelled of a grid penalty.
Reigning Endurance Cup champions Iron Lynx will start the race from p6. James Calado, Nicklas Nielsen en Miguel Molina will have the #111 JP Motorsport McLaren and the #12 Trésor Audi in front of them.
Marvin Kirchhofer in the #38 JOTA McLaren drove the fastest lap of the weekend in Q3, a 1:39:489.
Pole in the Silver Cup is for the #99 Attempto Racing Audi of Marius Zug, Nicholas Schöll and Alex Aka. They will start p7 overall, just ahead of the #95 Beechdean Aston and the #98 Rowe BMW. The top 10 is concluded by the #38 JOTA McLaren.
Valentino Rossi and his teammate Fred Vervisch and Nico Müller will start the race from p15.
Race start is at 14.00 GMT and can be followed live on the GT World youtube-channel.