Text: Rick Kiewiet
Images: SRO Media
Ferrari, represented by the Iron Lynx squad, and Porsche, by the means of the Dinamic Motorsport crew, will share the front row for today's 1000km of Paul Ricard, the second round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. After topping yesterday's pre-qualifying, which took place in the dark, The #71 drivers Davide Rigon, Daniel Serra and Antonio Fuoco left little doubt about who was going to lead the field towards the first corner on Saturday.
In Q1, the pace was set by the winners of the season opener at Imola back in April: the #32 WRT Audi in the hands of Dries Vanthoor. The fresh winner of the 24hrs of the Nürburgring last weekend rounded the 3.6 mile track in the French Provence in 1.53.864. Klaus Bachler in the #54 Dinamic Porsche needed 0.244s more for a lap, which was good for p2. Serra was third, 0.355s behind Vanthoor.
Rigon was in a league of his own in Q2: with a 1.53.423 he put himself 0.735s clear of the rest of the field. In second was another Ferrari, but then behind the wheel: Lorenzo Ferrari in the #57 Winward Mercedes (Gold cup!) put in a 1.54.158, just ahead of Come Ledogar in the #54 Dinamic Porsche. Two Audi's followed, the #12 Tresor by Car Collection with Mattia Drudi in the car and the #32 WRT Audi driven by Kelvin van der Linde.
The gap between number 1 and 2 increased to over a second (1.011s to be exact) after Q3, which was again topped by the #71 Ferrari. This time, Antonio Fuoco was 0.333s faster than Matteo Cairoli in the #54 Porsche. Again, the Gold cup #57 Winward Mercedes, was found in the upper ranks: Lucas Auer clocked the third time of the session. Unfortunately, their Q1 time drops the #57 to p19 on the grid.
So, the front row consists of a Ferrari and a Porsche. The second row is shared between Audi and Mercedes: the #32 WRT and the #88 of Marciello, Juncadella and Gounon. On p5 we find the Silver Cup polesitter: the #30 WRT Audi R8 of Simmenauer, Goethe and Neubauer. Right behind them is the best Brit on the grid, Jack Aitken in the #63 Emil Frey Lamborghini, accompanying Mirko Bortolotti and Albert Costa.
The #46 WRT Audi of former MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, Fred Vervisch and Nico Müller starts from p7.
The Beechdean Aston Martin just made it into the top-10: Thiim, Sorensen and Martin will start the race from p10, just behind James Calado and his teammates Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina in the #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari.