GPX Racing will lead a Porsche one-two at the start of tomorrow’s six-hour GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS contest at the Nürburgring after narrowly beating Dinamic Motorsport in a highly competitive qualifying session.
A blistering Q3 lap by Thomas Preining was enough to put the #40 GPX car on top by 0.105s on average times. Strong performances from Romain Dumas (fifth in Q1) and Dennis Olsen (third in Q2) had already established the crew as a contender before the young Austrian delivered a 1m54.001s, the fastest lap of the entire qualifying process.
Dinamic had looked to be an equally strong bet for pole. Matteo Cairoli posted the second-fastest time Q1 before Christian Engelhart emerged quickest in Q2, but Sven Müller was unable to find a clear lap in the final segment and the #54 crew slipped to second.
The #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini will start from third after a fine showing from Franck Perera, Giacomo Altoe and Alberto Costa in the Swiss squad’s Huracan. Rising star Altoe was their star performer, finishing second quickest to Engelhart in Q2.
The #66 Attempto Racing Audi followed its Imola pole with an excellent fourth place, making it the Ingolstadt brand’s leading representative on tomorrow’s grid. A pair of Ferrari runners will share the third row, the #51 AF Corse entry narrowly edging the #72 SMP Racing car, giving both a clear shot at success on Sunday.
Silver Cup pole changed hands during the final segment of qualifying. Q3 saw Patrick Kujala finish an impressive 12th overall in the #78 Lamborghini, which was enough to vault the Barwell Motorsport car to the top of the class order. Patrick Kujala, Frederik Schandorff and Alex MacDowall will start 18th overall, ahead of the #15 Tech1 Lexus (20th) and the #159 Garage 59 Aston Martin (23rd).
The #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG earned Pro-Am pole thanks to Thomas Drouet, Jim Pla and Fabien Barthez, who will start from 32nd overall tomorrow. They will line up immediately ahead of their nearest class rivals, with the #19 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini and the similar #77 Barwell machine 33rd and 34th respectively. The #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi, which is running in the Am Cup with Michael Blanchemain, Clement Seyler and Pierre-Yves Paque, finished 48th overall.
The only red flag of this evening’s session came during the closing minutes of Q3 when the #99 ROWE Racing Porsche of Dirk Werner hit the barriers at turn 10. The driver emerged unscathed and there were no other major interruptions, despite a typically frantic battle for track position among the 48-car field.
Tomorrow’s six-hour contest will be the second round of the 2020 Endurance Cup season and gets underway at 11.45 CET. Every minute of the action will be broadcast live on television and a variety of online platforms, including the GT World Challenge Europe website and Facebook page and the GT World YouTube channel in English, French and German.
Thomas Preining, #40 GPX Racing Porsche: “Even though we are the ones in front of the camera, a big thank you goes out to the crew. The mechanics and engineers put us in a really good position and made sure we didn’t have traffic. The car was fantastic: you don’t do a 1.54 without having the best car, so thank you to them.”
Source. SRO Motorsports Group