Kris Rosenberger scored a maiden pole position before Bert Longin won through in a thrilling all-Audi battle at the front of the field set up two hard-fought Fanatec GT2 European Series races at Misano tomorrow (3 July).
Whilst the battle for pole in the first part of qualifying was settled early on, the fight for top spot in the second session could scarcely have been closer.
Anders Fjordbach looked to have put Pro-Am leaders High Class Racing on course for a third pole position of the season, only for his best time to be disallowed for track limits. Bert Longin – fastest up until that point in the #81 PK Carsport Audi – then took full advantage to post an improvement and lower the benchmark to a 1:36.343.
Although Fjordbach was able to get close – 0.013 seconds, in fact – a late red flag put an end to the Dane’s charge and, crucially, means he and Mark Patterson will start behind chief Pro-Am rivals Longin and Guelinckx for the series’ first-ever evening race on Saturday.
Rosenberger’s first pole in the #24 Reiter Engineering KTM also has significance in the race for Am honours, as with Christoph Ulrich and Adrian Spescha behind for the opener, the Austrian and team-mate Hans-Joachim Stuck have a golden opportunity to score their first win and reduce the deficit in the standings.
Q1: Rosenberger puts Reiter Engineering on pole for opener
An early battle at the top of the timesheets between Am points leader Christoph Ulrich and nearest rival Kris Rosenberger was eventually decided in favour of the latter, securing the #24 Reiter Engineering KTM pole position for the opening race.
Although Ulrich’s 1:38.541 – then the benchmark time – was good enough to put the #7 Sportec KTM out front, it was only temporary, with an immediate response from Rosenberger to lower the target by another 0.095 seconds, and they remained in that order until the end of the session.
Target Racing’s #63 Lamborghini shone on debut in the hands of Mauro Casadei, a further tenth of a second back, with Klaus Angerhofer in True Racing’s #17 KTM making it an all-Am 1-2-3-4 in Q1, highlighting the strength of competition in the series.
Another pair of KTM runners led the way in Pro-Am, with Sehdi Sarmini fifth overall, the #16 True Racing entry just 0.051s clear of newcomer Einar Thorsen in the #23 Reiter challenger on its return to competitive action.
Peter Guelinckx will start the first race of the weekend from seventh spot in the highest-placed Audi R8 LMS GT2, the #81 PK Carsport by Heinz machine nearly a half-second ahead of chief Pro-Am title rival Mark Patterson in the #33 High Class car.
Stephane Ratel was ninth quickest for LP Racing in the #88 Audi after a late improvement elevated him above Aurelijus Rusteika in the #5 Speed Factory Racing Porsche, leaving the triple podium finishers with plenty of work to do for a repeat success on race day.
Q2: Longin wins through in all-Audi Pro-Am fight at the front
Anders Fjordbach might have secured another front-row start for Pro-Am points leader High Class Racing, but the #33 Audi was beaten to pole position on this occasion by its chief rival in the points, the #81 in Bert Longin’s charge.
Although Longin’s initial target for the rest to beat, a 1:37.888 set on his first flying lap, was briefly bested by Fjordbach, the Dane’s lap time was removed for exceeding track limits and Longin took full advantage, posting another improvement to lower the benchmark to 1:36.343.
Once again, the Dane rallied and was able to claw his way to within a mere 0.013 seconds of the #81 Audi, but a red flag for a slow car on circuit with thirty seconds to go denied Fjordbach another chance at wresting pole position away.
Nevertheless, it sets up a mouth-watering front row for the series’ first-ever evening race tomorrow and, with Luca Pirri third in the #88 LP Racing machine, it completed an all-Audi 1-2-3 at the front of the pack.
Stefan Rosina showed good pace throughout both practice sessions and will line up fourth in the leading KTM, his #16 True Racing challenger was just 0.028 ahead of Peter Kox in the #23.
Cedric Leimer rounded out a solid debut showing for Target Racing, the #63 Lamborghini taking sixth ahead of Speed Factory Racing’s #5 Porsche, Michael Vergers completing the fewest laps around the 4.2km Italian circuit of any driver, except Hans-Joachim Stuck, who took seventh.
Adrian Spescha was ninth on his return to the category, the Swiss leaving the #7 Sportec KTM with plenty of overtaking to do in order to defend its championship lead in the finale on Saturday evening, with Hubert Trunkenpolz tenth in the #17, the second of the True Racing KTM runners.
Saturday’s action begins with the opening race at 12:30 (CET), live on the GTWorld YouTube channel, before the series’ first-ever evening race gets underway later at 20:25.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group