Aston Martin Racing will start on GTE-Pro class pole for the first time in nearly a year, with the No. 95 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen taking the top spot in a down-to-the-wire mixed-condition qualifying for Sunday’s Six Hours of Nürburgring.
On a drying track, the Dunlop-shod car went to the top of the timing screens on the final lap of the 20-minute session, with Thiim leaving it until the end to improve his time on slicks.
The No. 95 Aston Martin reeled off a combined lap time of 2:01.712, which was more than two-tenths faster than the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Stefan Muecke and Olivier Pla, that was sandwiched by the second No. 97 Aston Martin of Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway in third.
It marked the British manufacturer’s first pole since Circuit of The Americas in 2015 and the first for Dunlop in the class in recent history.
A driver change just a few minutes from the end was the key strategy choice for the cars positioned in the top-three, giving the drivers that set their time first the opportunity to improve their time and thus the average.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE was one of the first cars to opt for slicks towards the end of the session, and while Gianmaria Bruni initially went off track on his out lap, he later posted the fastest lap of the field right at the end.
Taking the average into account, it was only enough for fourth on the grid for the No. 51 Ferrari.
The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari missed out and could only keep two GTE-Am cars behind in the session.
Porsche secured a 1-2 in GTE-Am, with Patrick Long and Khaled Al Qubaisi putting in the quickest average in the No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing 911 RSR ahead of the No. 78 KCMG Porsche in the hands of Wolf Henzler and Joël Camathias.
The class pole-winning pairing will team with David Heinemeier Hansson in the race tomorrow.
The No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 will start third in class.
The Six Hours of Nürburgring gets underway Sunday at 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET).