The starting grid for the 70th edition of the Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) 24-hour race has been decided. As the best-placed BMW M6 GT3, the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport car will start the endurance classic from eighth on the grid. BMW DTM driver Philipp Eng (AUT) was the eighth-fastest in Superpole qualifying on Friday evening, with a time of 2:19.517 minutes. Eng will contest the race alongside BMW works driver Tom Blomqvist (GBR) and Christian Krognes (NOR).
BMW works driver Nick Catsburg (NED) contested the Superpole qualification in the ROWE Racing #99 BMW M6 GT3. His time of 2:20.239 minutes sees Catsburg and his team-mates, BMW works drivers Jens Klingmann (GER) and Alexander Sims (GBR), start from 14th on the grid.
The 20 cars that took part in the Superpole session were determined in qualifying on Thursday from the average of the best times for all drivers in the car in the individual qualifying sessions. The trio in the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 set the fastest average time. The #99 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 in 20th place also qualified for the Superpole.
The ROWE Racing #98 BMW M6 GT3 will tackle the race from 27th on the grid. The BMW works drivers Marco Wittmann (GER) and Jesse Krohn (FIN), and BMW Motorsport Junior Ricky Collard (GBR), will take it in turns in the cockpit. In qualifying, they were continually thwarted by traffic on track. The quartet of Henry Walkenhorst, Ralf Oeverhaus, Immanuel Vinke (all GER) and Anders Buchardt (NOR) in the Walkenhorst Motorsport #36 BMW M6 GT3 will contest the AM class. They qualified fifth in their category (50th place overall).
The 70th edition of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps gets underway at 4:30 p.m. local time on Saturday 28th July.
Quotes from Superpole at Spa-Francorchamps:
Philipp Eng (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, starting position 8):
“The starting position doesn’t matter too much in a 24-hour race, so I’m satisfied we’re starting in the top ten. It was very hot, which didn’t play into our hands. It’s incredibly close. If I’d been one-tenth of a second faster, we’d be starting fourth, so we’re with the pack in terms of pace.”
Nick Catsburg (#99 BMW M6 GT3, ROWE Racing, starting position 14):
“The track conditions were really hard; it was extremely hot out there so the car had changed a little bit since yesterday. I feel like I under-drove the car a little on the first lap, and on the second flying lap the tyres were gone. It’s not the best qualifying session, but I see some cars behind me so it could be worse. Tomorrow is more important.”
Overview of BMW M6 GT3 driver line-ups:
#98 BMW M6 GT3 – ROWE Racing:
Marco Wittmann (GER)
Jesse Krohn (FIN)
Ricky Collard (GBR)
#99 BMW M6 GT3 – ROWE Racing:
Jens Klingmann (GER)
Nick Catsburg (NED)
Alexander Sims (GBR)
#34 BMW M6 GT3 – Walkenhorst Motorsport:
Tom Blomqvist (GBR)
Philipp Eng (AUT)
Christian Krognes (NOR)
#36 BMW M6 GT3 – Walkenhorst Motorsport:
Henry Walkenhorst (GER)
Ralf Oeverhaus (GER)
Anders Buchardt (NOR)
Immanuel Vinke (GER)