The Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#4, Ben Keating / Jeroen Bleekemolen / Felipe Fraga / Cooper MacNeil) has secured its first 24H SERIES pole position of the year at the season closing Hankook 24H COTA USA. Felipe Fraga posted a 2m 05.697s laptime around the 5.513km Circuit of the Americas, pulling the Mercedes-AMG almost half a second clear of the Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#70, Nick Foster / Martin Berry / Eric Zang / George Kurtz) and giving an immense benchmark for teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen to try and beat during the closing stages of the session.
“We have the [telemetry] in the car, so we can compare every corner,” Bleekemolen explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “And I was really close the whole lap until I hit traffic and lost a couple of tenths. I tried to make up for it but I couldn’t. But the car is great and Felipe did a perfect lap. It’s great to be back!”
With this result, Team Black Falcon replicates its pole position at the event from 2017, makes its third consecutive start at the event from the front row, and will be looking for its second consecutive victory at the Hankook 24H COTA USA.
A 2m 06.178s lap was enough for Toksport WRT to secure a front row start on its event debut as well as the A6-Am class pole position. Impressively, the #70 Mercedes even out-qualified its sister #90 (Luca Stolz / Hendrik Still / Martin Konrad / Axcil Jefferies), which will compete in the A6-Pro class and starts 3rd overall.
The Volt Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (#73, Alan Brynjolfsson / Trent Hindman / Jan Heylen / Richard Heistand), which will be run this weekend by Park Place Motorsport, is the first non-Mercedes-AMG runner and will start 4th. Another former winner of the Hankook 24H COTA USA, the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer) starts 5th, just ahead of the HB Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#41, Nick Mancuso / Angelo Negro / Nikolaj Rogivue / Daniel Allemann).
The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) and the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Max Edelhoff / Gustav Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Ingo Vogler) rounds out the A6 contingent of the field, and will start line-astern in 7th and 8th overall. Both teams are former class winners at the Hankook 24H COTA USA, and go into this weekend’s event for the 24H SERIES Continents championship contention.
The Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo 2018 (#710, Harald Schlotter / Aleksander Schjerpen / Alexey Karachev / Denis Soglaev / Gregg Gorski) goes into this year’s Hankook 24H COTA USA in contention for the 24H SERIES Continents championship, and leapt from the blocks by taking the SPX class pole position. The Cor Euser Racing MARC II V8 (#717, Jim Briody / Einar Thorsen / Cor Euser / Sam Allpass / Ward Sluys) and the Black Falcon Team Customer Racing Mercedes-AMG GTX (#464, Alex Böhm / Axel König / Norbert Schneider / Axel Sartingen / Daniel Schwerfeld) round out the SPX top three.
Behind the Leipert Lamborghini in 9th, the Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 991-II Cup (#906, Alan Metni / Wayne Ducote / David Ducote / Chapman Ducote / Andrew Davis) rounds out the overall top 10 for the event and will start the race from the 991-class pole position. MRS GT-Racing (#980, Nicola Michelon / Alexander Marmureanu / JM Littman / Constantin Schöll / David Roberts) will start 2nd in-class, just ahead of Porsche Lorient Racing (#911, Jean-François Demorge / Eric Mouez / Dominique Bastien / Frédéric Ancel), which recently secured the category’s championship in the 24H SERIES Europe.
The Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#433, Bryce Ward / Russell Ward / Philip Ellis / Kris Wilson) leads an all-American top three in the GT4 class, and will roll away at the green flag just ahead of the Racers Edge Motorsports Sin R1 GT4 (#401, Ross Smith / Marco Di Leo / Dan Di Leo / Jade Buford) and the Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4 (#451, Olaf Meyer / Björn Simon / Simon Tibbett / Jason Hart / Matt Travis).
MONLAU COMPETICION secures 2nd pole of the season at the Hankook 24H COTA USA
The MONLAU COMPETICION Cupra TCR DSG (#107, Stuart Hall / Christopher Kemp / David Tinn / Tom Black) has secured the final TCE division pole position of this year’s 24H SERIES at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Former LMGTE Am World Endurance Champion Stuart Hall posted a 2m 19.304s in the closing 40 seconds of the session to push the TOPCAR sport by Bas Koeten Racing Cupra TCR DSG (#131, Fabian Danz / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Ronny Jost), which had held the top spot for much of the session, back down to 2nd.
This result marks the second time this year that MONLAU COMPETICION will start a 24H TCE division race from pole position, the Spanish team having done so at Mugello. Impressively, Stuart Hall posted the fastest time in TCE qualifying despite missing all of Free Practice.
“This is my practice!” Hall explained to Nick Daman. “It’s the first time I’ve ever driven a front-wheel drive car this year – I only jumped out of a Porsche GT3 R last week! – so it’s all very new and I’m still learning in the job.
“It’s really nice to be on pole. The team has done a mega job. It’s just a case of tailoring myself to the car. And you only have one or two laps on the car, usually one. So I took a step back and figured I could piece one together. And I did. That was nice and there’s plenty more to come!”
Despite competing for the top spot for most of the opening quarter of the TCE qualifying session, the Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#112, Jérôme Ogay / Constantin Kletzer / Roberto Ferri / Alberto Vescovi / Yannick Mettler) slipped back down the grid in the closing stages and will now start 3rd. Last time out, the Swiss team secured the 24H SERIES Europe championship in the TCE division, and this week is in contention for the ‘Continents’ title as well.
American stalwart Atlanta Speedwerks (#126, Brian Henderson / Taylor Hagler / Barry Boes / Todd Lamb) will start 4th on its 24H SERIES powered by Hankook debut at COTA, the Honda Civic FK7 TCR having lapped just over one tenth of the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stephane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Matthew Taskinen / William Neal). The second Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#114, Lukas Desserich / Stefan Tanner / Yannick Mettler / Christoph Ulrich) will start 6th.
Having won the inaugural TCR SPA 500 just over one month ago, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl Cupra TCR DSG (#101, Ivo Breukers / Steven Liquorish / Jerimy Daniel / Jean-Francois Hevey) is the final TCR entrant at COTA, and will start 7th just ahead of the Sorg Rennsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#851, Benito Tagle / Michael Nielsen / Frank S. Woody III / Johan Schwartz)
This year’s Hankook 24H COTA USA starts tomorrow afternoon at 11.30 hrs local time, and will run uninterrupted until the overnight intervention starts at 22.30 hrs. On Sunday morning at 08.00 hrs, the race will restart and will run uninterrupted until 21.00 hrs local time
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba